Biden Reverses Stance, Now ‘Happy’ to Meet with Speaker Johnson

By Jerry McConway, updated on February 20, 2024

Last week, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) offered to sit down with Joe Biden to discuss the aid package that Biden would like to have passed for Ukraine and Israel.

Initially, Biden refused, with the White House saying there was nothing to negotiate, but Biden's stance has since softened.

Talking Points…
- Biden refusal
- Biden reversal
- Analysis

White House Rejects Johnson's Request

On February 14, Speaker Johnson let it be known that he was willing to sit down with Joe Biden to talk about aid funding legislation he wanted to pass. Johnson was clear that the funding bill, as written in the Senate, would not get to the House floor, but he was hoping to negotiate with Biden on the matter. Johnson stated:

"I am going to continue to insist on that because there are very serious issues that need to be addressed and if the speaker of the House cannot meet with the president of the United States, that's a problem.

"I don't know why they're uncomfortable having the president sit across the table from me, but I will go in good faith."

Johnson, as most of you know, was snubbed, with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre delivering a straight-forward message to him. She stated:

"What is there to negotiate, truly?

"What is the one-on-one negotiation about when he's been presented with exactly what he asked for? So, he's negotiating with himself [and] he's killing bills on his own."

Biden Now Willing to Meet

On Monday, Biden pivoted away from that hardline stance, saying that he is now open to meeting Johnson. After returning from yet another weekend in Delaware, Biden, when asked about meeting with Johnson, responded:

"Sure, I'd be happy to meet with him if he has anything to say."

Johnson's office responded:

"We welcome the president's reversal and openness to meeting with Speaker Johnson about the best path forward for securing the nation. It's long overdue.

"We look forward to hearing from the White House when he'll be available for a one-on-one meeting that the Speaker has requested for weeks."

Analysis

Biden is on the clock, especially with Ukraine, so I can fully understand why he is backing away from his original stance here. If Ukraine falls, Biden can blame the GOP all he wants, but he is the man sitting in the Oval Office, and Ukraine's fall would ultimately be his responsibility, especially with most believing that Russia never would have invaded had Trump still been in office.

This is all the GOP has to use for leverage right now, so I cannot blame Johnson for getting into this game of chicken with Biden. He held firm, and Biden appears ready to blink.

For conservatives to be okay with this legislation, there have to be two things in place… the first being accountability regarding the aid being sent to Ukraine. The second is something significant regarding the border. I think most conservatives would take that tradeoff as long as this funding is accounted for and will not put the country further in debt.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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