Soon after he said it, the White House was forced to walk back the statement by the “Gaffer-in-Chief” when Joe Biden declared that the US wants to see Vladimir Putin ousted from Russia!
Biden appeared to call for Putin to be removed from office when he said, off the cuff, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,’” at the end of an impassioned speech from Poland over the weekend.
In another “say it isn’t so, Joe” moment, the White House spin doctors quickly went into damage control mode after Biden’s alarming gaffe. Richard Haass, the Council on Foreign Relations president, tweeted his concerns that Biden had “just expanded US war aims, calling for regime change.”
“However desirable it may be, it is not within our power to accomplish-plus runs risk it will increase Putin’s inclination to see this as a fight to the finish, raising odds he will reject compromise, escalate, or both,” wrote Haass.
“Our interests are to end the war on terms Ukraine can accept & to discourage Russian escalation. Today’s call for regime change is inconsistent with these ends,” he added.
Haass went on to tell Politico that a senior Biden official, possibly even Secretary of State Antony Blinken, needs to reach out to their Russian counterpart immediately and explain that Biden’s comment doesn’t reflect “official” US policy.
“The fact that it was so off-script in some ways makes it worse because it could be read as Biden’s genuine belief as opposed to his scripted words,” Haas said.
Biden’s remark could also diminish Putin’s interest in compromise and increase his temptation to escalate in Ukraine “because if he believes he has everything to lose, then he’ll believe he has nothing to lose,” Haass said.
Before Biden could even board Air Force One to begin the flight back to Washington, his aides were rushing to claim that he hadn’t been calling for an immediate change in government in Moscow.
“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,’” a White House official said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov quickly denounced Biden, saying, “it´s not up to the president of the US and not up to the Americans to decide who will remain in power in Russia.”
Biden’s shocking unscripted remark came just 24 hours after the White House rushed to walk back other awkward remarks from the president suggesting that US troops would deploy, and had already deployed, to Ukraine.
In a speech to US paratroopers in Poland on Friday, Biden said, “You’re going to see when you’re there – some of you have been there – you’re going to see women, young people, standing in the middle, in front of a damn tank, saying, ‘I’m not leaving.”
Biden’s mention of “when you’re there” seemed to suggest that the troops would be deployed across the border to Ukraine, but the administration insisted there has been no change in his stance that the US will not enter the conflict.
“The president has been clear we are not sending US troops to Ukraine, and there is no change in that position,” a White House spokesperson clarified to the press.
As the oldest person ever sworn into the White House, President Biden has faced questions and concerns over his mental as well as physical acuity since taking on one of the most stressful jobs in the world.
Biden, 79, has worried even avid supporters with numerous gaffes like these over the year he’s been in office.
Most recently, Rep. Ronny Jackson pointed out in a letter demanding Biden take a cognitive test that one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s Disease is erratic changes in mood or personality.