President Joe Biden announced his decision to ban oil imports from Russia at the White House on Tuesday, just days after his administration argued against the idea.
“We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war,” Biden said, painting the decision as a moral one after Russian president Vladimir Putin escalated his war in Ukraine.
Biden’s ban was announced as he faced growing pressure from a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress to pass their own bill to ban Russian oil imports.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki and other Biden officials spent days defending their decision not to ban oil imports from Russia, warning it would only enrich Putin by raising gas prices.
“It also has the potential to pad the pockets of President Putin, which is exactly what we are not trying to do,” Psaki said during a press briefing Thursday when asked why Biden had not announced a ban on oil imports from Russia.
In recent days, many oil companies already announced plans to eliminate Russian oil from their portfolios. Even Shell announced their decision to stop purchasing crude oil on Tuesday after purchasing a significant amount of discounted Russian crude oil days earlier.
Shell is abandoning its Russian oil and gas resources and will close all its service outlets there, the British energy giant announced Tuesday. https://t.co/uPmjzEyVl4
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) March 8, 2022
But Biden described his announcement as “another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”
News of Biden’s ban caused the price of oil to jump on Tuesday.
The president warned Americans to expect even higher gas prices as a result of his decision.
“I said defending freedom is going to cost,” he reminded the audience, before trying to put the blame for higher gas prices squarely on Putin.
“I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home,” he promised.
The president has repeated his promise to do “everything” he can to reduce gas prices for months, but there is little evidence that his efforts have had any significant success.