Vice President Joe Biden isn’t sure Russian President Vladimir Putin has a soul, according to a new profile in The New Yorker.
The profile, published Monday, features Biden illustrating “his emphasis on personality as a factor in foreign affairs” by recalling a visit to Putin at the Kremlin in 2011, when Putin was Russia’s prime minister.
“I had an interpreter, and when he was showing me his office I said, ‘It’s amazing what capitalism will do, won’t it? A magnificent office!’ And he laughed. As I turned, I was this close to him,” Biden said, holding his hand close to his face. “I said, ‘Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.'”
The profiler, Evan Osnos, described being taken back.
“You said that?” Osnos asked.
“Absolutely, positively,” Biden replied. “And he looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.'”
Biden sat back and exclaimed, “This is who this guy is!”
In 2001, President George W. Bush famously claimed he had looked into Putin’s eyes and “was able to get a sense of his soul.”
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