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Remarks by President Biden Before Marine One Departure

May 25, 2021

5:16 P.M. EDT

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 — back tonight. And so I just wanted to let you know what I'm doing.

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 one-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 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 — 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 — 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.

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 they're 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.

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

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.

Q Mr. President, (inaudible) end qualified immunity? That's one of the hang-ups 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.

5:20 P.M. EDT

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