Joe Biden

Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Wilmington, Delaware

May 25, 2021

The President. I'm going up to a viewing of a woman who worked with me in a senior position from the time I ran for the county council who passed away. Her name was Norma Long. That's why I'm heading home. I'm heading back tonight. And so I just wanted to let you know what I'm doing.

The President's Meeting With George Floyd's Family/First Anniversary of the Police-Involved Death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota/Police Reform Legislation

Q. Sir, how was your meeting with the Floyd family?

The President. The Floyd family meeting went incredibly well. We spent a long time together. I spent—I got a chance to spend a lot of time with Gianna and the family. And we just talked about—you know, it's the 1-year anniversary, and those of you who've been through personal loss know that although every anniversary is—you're happy people remember, it also brings everything back immediately like it happened that day. It takes a lot of courage to go through it.

And they've been wonderful. And I've spoken with the negotiators. I'm hopeful that sometime after Memorial Day, we'll have an agreement on the—on the George Floyd legislation. And so, I'm optimistic.

And I think they spoke to you. Maybe they didn't speak to you; they spoke to some of you. I think they were very pleased with the time we spent together. It was mostly personal. We spent a long time, I guess, almost a couple of hours.

Q. And have you discussed——

Q. And how was the time with Gianna for you? What did you—[inaudible]?

The President. First thing she did when she ran in was throw her arms around me, gave me a big hug and wanted to sit in my lap. And we spent—she also loved the idea that—she said, "I'm really hungry." And so she said, "Do you have any snacks?"

Q. What did you give her?

The President. Well, we gave her—my wife would kill me. We gave her some ice cream. She had some Cheetos. And I think she had a chocolate milk. I'm not sure what the third one was.

But they were in and out. I showed them all—and we spent time—I spent time showing them around not just the Oval, but around the White House. And they were interested, and I gave them all little mementos, especially her. I had a great picture of Gianna when I went down for the funeral—or for the eve of the funeral, and I gave her that.

Nord Stream 2 Russia-Germany Natural Gas Pipeline

Q. Why have you decided to meet with President Putin? And why are you letting Germany and Russia to build—to continue building Nord Stream 2?

The President. Because it's almost completely finished, number one. The idea that anything that—and it's not like I can allow Germany to do something or not.

I have been opposed to Nord Stream 2 from the beginning, but it only has—it's almost completed by the time I took office. And to go ahead and impose sanctions now, I think, would be counterproductive now in terms of our European relations. And they know how strongly I feel. And I hope we can work on how they handle it from this point on.

President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia

Q. Have you considered canceling the summit because of what happened in Belarus? Have you ever considered canceling the summit with Mr. Putin because of what just happened—[inaudible]?

The President. No, no, no. I—Putin had indicated he wanted to meet with me well over a month ago. I've spoken with him a number of times. We're going to be having a meeting in Switzerland not too long from now.


Q. What are you thinking about in terms of sanctions on Belarus?

The President. Well, that's in play. I don't want to speculate until we get it done.

Police Reform Legislation

Q. Mr. President—[inaudible]—reform bill that did not end qualified immunity? That's one of the hangups in negotiations.

The President. The negotiations are taking place now. In case you haven't figured me out by now, I never negotiate in public like others do. That's why I'm relatively successful in getting things done. And so I will tell you when that happens.

Thank you so much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 5:16 p.m. on the Ellipse at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to H.R. 7120.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Wilmington, Delaware Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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