Biden suddenly signals readiness to meet with Speaker Johnson after White House rejected prior requests for negotiations on Ukraine aid, border security

 February 20, 2024

President Joe Biden and his administration tend to speak disingenuously out of both sides of their mouths for partisan purposes on various issues, and that was clearly on display over the past few weeks in terms of a failed Senate border deal proposal and additional foreign aid for Ukraine and other allied nations.

Biden said on Monday that he would be "happy to meet" with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) for a direct discussion of the border security issues and the Ukraine aid package recently passed by the Senate, the New York Post reported.

But that purported receptiveness to a meeting with the speaker follows allegations that Biden and his White House firmly rebuffed prior requests for a one-on-one meeting over the past month or two.

Biden appears to agree to a meeting with Johnson

On Monday, as President Biden returned to the White House from a long weekend at his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, he was asked by reporters if he would be willing to meet with Speaker Johnson to try to negotiate an agreement on the pending Ukraine aid.

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

In response to that remark, a spokesman for the speaker, Raj Shah, told the Post in a statement, "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," he added.

White House rejected a requested meeting just last week

The Post observed that it was just last week that Speaker Johnson informed reporters that he'd been unsuccessfully trying to arrange a meeting with President Biden -- only for that entreaty to be dismissively smacked down the same day by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

According to The Hill, Johnson told reporters on Wednesday, "A month I’ve been asking to sit down with the president to talk about the border and talk about national security, and that meeting has not been granted."

"And I’m going to continue to insist on that, because they’re very serious issues that need to be addressed. And if the Speaker of the House can’t meet with the president of the United States, that’s a problem," he added.

Yet, just hours later, during the Wednesday press briefing, Jean-Pierre disingenuously asserted that there was no apparent need for a meeting or further negotiations since Speaker Johnson had already been presented with solutions to the problems that had been worked out between the White House and Senate -- solutions that Johnson had rejected as being insufficient to actually address the issues in a meaningful way.

Pressed on Johnson's claim that his requests for a meeting had been rebuffed multiple times, the press secretary replied, "So, I -- what is there to negotiate? Really, 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. He’s killing bills on his own."

Will Biden actually meet with Johnson now?

It will be interesting to see if the White House follows through on President Biden's apparent reversal and sudden willingness to meet with Speaker Johnson to discuss the pressing issues at hand, including the lack of accountability and oversight for the latest proposed disbursement of $60 billion in taxpayer-funded military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, not to mention the unclear goals of America's continued and escalating intervention in the conflict against Russia.

As for the border issue, Johnson and House Republicans rightly rejected the Senate's proposed deal as being too weak on actual border security, locking in Biden's "open borders" policies by permitting entry for thousands of illegal migrants per day, and creating unnecessary new authorities for the president when existing laws already give the executive branch ample tools to fully secure the nation's borders.

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