Vladimir Putin commented on a range of topics, including Ukraine and international diplomacy, in a February 2024 interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. But social media users and websites are sharing fabricated quotes from the Russian president about US border security, President Joe Biden and former president Barack Obama.
"We Russians find it ironically amusing your Congress will spend billions protecting foreign borders but neglect it's (sic) own. It's quiet (sic) laughable but deadly," says text over a February 6, 2024 TikTok post.
The supposed response to a question on whether Putin was following events on the southern US border also circulated on Instagram, garnering 25,000 likes. Kari Lake, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate in the state of Arizona who is now running for the US Senate, amplified it on X, formerly Twitter.
Other posts share what they claim are quotes from Putin about Biden not being in charge of the United States ("Joe Biden is just a just a facade for this power structure") or that Obama is "still ruling from afar" on the island of Martha's Vineyard, where the Democrat has a home.
A website touting what it claimed was a transcript of a "bombshell" interview three days before the real one aired quoted Putin as saying: "Joe Biden may not even be aware of what's going on. He may not understand the level of sanctions thrown at Russia."
But Carlson did not release excerpts of his controversial interview before it aired February 8 -- and the quotes in the posts do not appear in the official transcript released by the Kremlin, which translates Putin's remarks into English (archived here).
Putin mentioned Biden only briefly, saying: "I cannot remember when I talked to him."
The Russian leader did allude to migration issues at the US-Mexico border, suggesting Washington should manage the situation rather than worry about Ukraine. But he did not make the remarks cited on social media.
"You have issues on the border, issues with migration, issues with the national debt -- more than $33 trillion. You have nothing better to do, so you should fight in Ukraine?" Putin said. "Wouldn't it be better to negotiate with Russia?"
The war in Ukraine dominated the interview; Putin gave a lengthy explanation of Moscow's position and told Carlson the West should understand it is "impossible" to defeat Russia.
Putin also said a deal "can be reached" on imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, with unspecified concessions.