Biden Admin Reacts to Russia Holding US Journalist Evan Gershkovich
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On Thursday, we wrote about Russia essentially taking U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich hostage, on what appear to be trumped-up charges of espionage. My colleague Joe Cunningham suggested that the best move the Biden administration could take is to take a hard line—something which it has yet to do against Russia:
The Russian government has been emboldened to invade Ukraine, take a U.S. basketball player hostage, laugh in the face of U.S. sanctions and threats, purposefully take out U.S. drones, and now take a journalist hostage.
This requires a firmness the Biden administration has thus far been unwilling to show the authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin.
More on that later.
As President Joe Biden left the White House for another weekend in Delaware, he fielded questions from reporters. A video from the New York Post showed Biden being asked several questions. On the first question, he refused to comment on the Thursday indictment by a New York grand jury of former President Donald Trump.
Biden demands Russia release WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich: ‘Let him go’
— New York Post (@nypost) March 31, 2023
But there was a second question before Biden headed to the helicopter. He was asked what he would say to Russia about the detained, Wall Street Journal reporter. He simply said, “Let him go.”
Vice President Kamala Harris also commented on the detainment from her Africa trip, according to the Associated Press:
Speaking at a news conference in Lusaka, Zambia, Vice President Kamala Harris added that the administration was “deeply concerned” about Gershkovich’s arrest.
“We will not tolerate — and condemn, in fact — repression of journalists,” Harris said during a weeklong visit to Africa.
There was also this from the White House press room and others in the Biden administration:
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, called the targeting of U.S. citizens in Russia “unacceptable” and said the administration condemns the detention of Gershkovich “in the strongest terms.”
The Biden administration has also warned U.S. citizens not to travel to Russia, and for Americans in the country to depart immediately.
Let’s return to what Cunningham said up top, now that we’ve heard the vast expressions of wisdom from the administration’s commander in chief, vice president, and press secretary had to say about a foreign government run by an authoritarian despot holding an American journalist for no good reason.
Look over the reactions again from our betters in the Democrat Party, as a U.S. journalist sits in a Russian prison. Will the Biden administration take action to show Putin this isn’t acceptable? Will we impress on America’s enemies around the world that our nation has the fortitude to stare down bad actors who threaten our citizens, including those who are simply expressing their First Amendment rights as journalists?
A quote from Biden that the AP shared leaves no doubt about whether the U.S. plans to get tough with Putin over Gershkovich:
Asked Friday whether he would expel Russian diplomats or journalists in the U.S., Biden responded: “That’s not the plan right now.”
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