Biden Stands by Comment That Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power’

Biden Stands by Comment That Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power’

President is standing by impromptu remarks he made two days ago in Warsaw, Poland.

After meeting with Ukrainian refugees, the president said, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

The nine words sent shockwaves that reverberated across the globe. White House advisors immediately attempted to walk back the president’s response.

One administration official said, “The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.” They added, “He was not discussing Putin’s power in , or regime change.”

Still, for many of America’s allies, the remarks come perilously close to calling for regime change in Moscow, which could strengthen Putin’s standing domestically and stiffen his resolve, even in the face of a disastrous invasion thus far.

Florida Congressman Mike Waltz remarked on Fox News that Biden’s words could make Putin stronger domestically. State-run media could manipulate them to rally the Russian people behind their weakened leader.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that Biden’s decision to call Putin a “butcher” who “cannot remain in power” could undermine peace talks.

While Putin’s actions have sparked a global backlash, many observers on the right and the left viewed the president’s weekend remarks as a gaffe that needed a swift remedy.

However, Biden stood by his remarks at a press conference on Monday. Although he added that he wasn’t announcing a change in U.S. policy when he said Putin “cannot remain in power.”

WATCH:

As CNN reports:

Biden emphasized that he was speaking from the heart following a meeting with Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw.

“I’d just come from being with those families,” he said, adding, “I make no apologies for it.”

The improvised comment about Putin, which came at the very end of a two-country visit to Europe meant to reinforce alliances, wasn’t planned and surprised aides who were watching Biden’s speech on television or at the event site. And the words hadn’t been something Biden raised as potentially including in his speech — previously, US officials were adamant that changing the government in Moscow wasn’t one of their objectives. In closed-door meetings earlier in the week, Biden told fellow leaders at NATO that he did not want to escalate the West’s confrontation with Russia.

Yet his ad-libbed line did more to pit him directly against Putin than anything so far in the conflict.

Fox News brought on ret. Gen. and New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc to comment on the situation.

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