President Biden asked reporters to repeat themselves multiple times during a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto Thursday.
Biden struggled to hear at least three questions from reporters during the brief Q&A portion of Thursday’s press conference. Reporters there pressed him on the stability of America’s membership in NATO and the future of Finland now that it has joined the international alliance.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, the White House blamed the confusion on the “large echoey room” where the briefing took place.
“The political volatility of U.S. remains a big worry for our European partners. Meanwhile, back in Washington, a bipartisan group of senators has repeatedly failed to pass through Senate a bill that would prevent the U.S. presidents in the future from withdrawing from NATO without Senate approval. What …,” a reporter said before Biden cut her off.
“What? I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the last part of your question,” Biden interjected.
“In Washington, a bipartisan group of senators has repeatedly failed to pass through the Senate a law that would prevent future U.S. presidents from withdrawing from NATO without the Senate’s approval,” the reporter repeated. “What actions will you take to assure Finland that the U.S. will remain a reliable needle partner for decades to come?”
Biden said he was confident the U.S. would remain in NATO due to widespread bipartisan support for the organization. He nevertheless admitted he cannot predict the future.
The later instances of Biden struggling to understand reporters’ questions came when Niinisto called on a Finnish reporter.
“My question is for Mr. President Biden, or should I just say President Biden? You have repeatedly talked about the Finlandization of NATO becoming the NATOization of Finland.” the reporter began before Biden interjected.
“Sorry, what nation?” Biden said.
“You have repeatedly talked about the Finlandization of NATO becoming the NATOization of Finland. Based on your long experience, how does that change Finland’s place in the world?” the reporter said once again.
“Well, first of all, the context in which I said that was the gentleman who occupies a seat on the other side of the border in Moscow. I said he wanted the Finlandization of NATO. I said what is more likely is the NATOization of Finland. That’s what – that’s the context in which that was said. And what was the second part of your question?” Biden asked once again.
“I asked how has Finland’s position in the world changed during NATO membership process?” the reporter said.
Biden responded that Finland’s entry into the alliance makes both the country and the alliance stronger.