Speaking to Russian television during a trip to Davos on Wednesday, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden revealed that President Vladimir Putin had told him once that he would “really like” to meet.
“I had a conversation about the need for both sides to cooperate,” Biden said of his meeting with Putin in 2017. “He said to me, ‘If you need me to call on a particular topic I’ll call on it, you know? I’m not shy about making phone calls.’
“He said, ‘If you think you can help, call me. I’d really like to meet.’ And I said, ‘You’ve told me like 50 times.’”
While he believed Biden’s “disappointing” performance during the last U.S. presidential election had greatly influenced Putin’s decision to become a supporter of Donald Trump’s run for the White House, Biden was still “gracious” when he met the Russian president, according to Biden.
“But he said, ‘I’m Russia — you can’t change me.’ And I took that as a tremendous compliment,” he said.
Biden’s meeting with Putin came during his visit to Russia shortly after he lost the 2016 presidential election, after which the pair said they discussed foreign policy and relations between the two countries.
“In the course of our conversation, [Putin] asked me a number of questions about what went wrong — and how we could avoid making the same mistakes,” Biden said at the time. “He said he found my answers disappointing because he felt I had a better understanding of the situation.”
Biden also revealed on Wednesday that the following meeting was the last time he spoke with Putin.
“In that conversation, [Putin] seemed in a much better mood and was more willing to listen than he had been the previous time,” Biden said. “I have no idea when that conversation happened. He said the next time that he’d like to meet.”
He had this to say on why he left the Barack Obama administration:
“The biggest factor that contributed to my decision to leave the administration was Secretary of State John Kerry.
“No candidate I met in my life could stand up to him intellectually, mentally, spiritually. There’s a reason why in a very busy campaign — a very hectic campaign — John Kerry was permitted to appear on every single network at least a dozen times.”