Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday while on a visit to Jerusalem to meet with Israeli PM Naftali Bennett continued the White House’s efforts to try and clean up the mess unleashed by Joe Biden’s words from Warsaw the day prior where he issued statements tantamount to calling for regime change in Russia.
“I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else,” Blinken said, clearly trying to greatly alter the plain meaning of the words Biden spoke.
“For God‘s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
Just some casual warmongering from the “adult in the room.” pic.twitter.com/FtnVBChiqI
— Ian Haworth (@ighaworth) March 27, 2022
Biden had concluded the televised Warsaw speech by bluntly saying of Putin (who he also had called a “butcher” in a separate statement to a reporter)… “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Within the very hour as headlines spread around the world that the US president called for regime change in Moscow, the White House desperately scrambled to walk it back.
A White House official tried to clarify to Bloomberg, “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.” But Biden appeared to be reading a carefully prepared written speech from the teleprompter.
Blinken’s Sunday explanation of Biden’s words continued:
“As you know, and as you have heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia — or anywhere else, for that matter,” the US’ top diplomat said.
“As in any case, it’s up to the people of the country in question. It’s up to the Russians,” Blinken said.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov had hit back after Biden’s speech, stressing that it is not up to the White House or any country anywhere for that matter to decide who is in power in Russia. “The president of Russia is elected by Russians,” Peskov said dismissively on Saturday.
Biden’s words also triggered an avalanche of commentary in the West from pundits warning that this kind of talk is dangerous given two nuclear-armed superpowers already appear headed toward a war-footing and possible direct clash over Ukraine. Further the Russians have already warned that they could completely sever diplomatic ties over Biden’s prior “murderous dictator” and Putin is a “thug” comments.
Biden’s call for regime change in Russia wasn’t some off-the-cuff “gaffe.” It was declared as the climax of a carefully choreographed, “legacy-defining” speech, in a deliberately chosen venue (Poland) where the call would be well-received. The message was delivered loud and clear
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) March 26, 2022
Those fiery references weren’t absent from Biden’s Saturday speech, where he doubled down of this theme of “evil” Putin, saying, “A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never erase a people’s love for liberty. Brutality will never grind down their will to be free. Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia — for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.”
Just prior to the Saturday Warsaw speech, an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal had urged, The President Should Avoid Public Speaking …at least when the topic is important.
On the heels of the latest walked-back blunder, it’s a good time to send this along again. “The President Should Avoid Public Speaking… at least when the topic is important.”
— Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) March 27, 2022
Commenting on prior dangerous “gaffes” – the piece stated, “A good number of us will cling to the belief that the president was confused and didn’t understand what he was saying, which is all the more reason for him to avoid deviating from a prepared text in this perilous time.”
The question remains, was this a mere “gaffe”?… Journalist Michael Tracey and others say no…
Biden’s call for regime change in Russia wasn’t some off-the-cuff “gaffe.” It was declared as the climax of a carefully choreographed, “legacy-defining” speech, in a deliberately chosen venue (Poland) where the call would be well-received.