Inside the room, Biden and Putin were seated on either side of a wooden table. Large U.S. and Russian flags were erected on each side of the globe.
Next to the president sat a female interpreter, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Putin was seated next to an interpreter, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The media scuffle was described by those in the room as "chaotic," with journalists being pushed and shoved. At one point when the scuffle got loud, Biden looked up and stared at the doorway for several seconds, before being described as 'breaking out in laughter'.
Russian security pulled the red rope separating the media from the leaders to try and keep journalists away from the presidents.
Russian security screamed at journalists to get out of the room, and began pushing them, according to the TV pool report. That was met with cries from U.S. journalists and White House officials, telling Russian security to stop touching them.
Both presidents watched and listened to the media scuffle in front of them, and the pool reporter revealed that they "appeared amused by the scene."
"At one point, Biden leaned over and spoke to the interpreter and smiled," the pool report pointed out.
Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy reported that a small U.S. delegation traveled with the president to Geneva, and said an even smaller group was expected to be permitted to go into the room where Biden and Putin were meeting. Doocy explained that a video camera was permitted, briefly, in the room, but that the producer with the audio equipment was not.
Doocy said Russian security officials were tugging at U.S. journalists’ clothing to try to get them out of the room, noting that Swiss officials, the hosts of the event, were trying to get people organized and in line, but were unsuccessful.
Ahead of the chaotic scene, Putin and Biden each made brief remarks.
Putin thanked President Biden for "the initiative to meet today," noting that U.S. and Russian relations "have a lot of issues accumulated that require the highest level meeting," and said that he hoped the meeting "will be productive."
Biden remarked that he thinks it "is always better to meet face to face, to try and determine where we have mutual interests to cooperate, and where we don’t."
As the meeting kicked off, Biden was asked by a reporter if he and Putin could trust each other, and whether he trusted the Russian president. Biden nodded his affirmation.
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said afterward that Biden was not nodding in reaction to any particular question.
"It was a chaotic scrum with reporters shouting over each other," Bedingfield tweeted. "He said just two days ago in his presser: 'verify, then trust.'"