Biden Defends Putin Remark
President Joe Biden defended his eyebrow-raising off-script remark that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” saying he was expressing moral outrage, not calling for a regime change.
Biden said he was “not walking anything back” regarding his comment that sent the White House into damage control mode.
“I was expressing my outrage. He shouldn’t remain in power, just like bad people shouldn’t continue to do bad things. But it doesn’t mean we have a fundamental policy to do anything to take Putin down in any way,” Biden told reporters.
“The last thing I want to do is engage in a land war or nuclear war with Russia. … I was expressing my outrage at the behavior of this man. It’s more an aspiration — he shouldn’t be in power. People like this shouldn’t be ruling countries, but they do.”
“Nobody believes I was talking about taking down Putin. Nobody believes that,” he said.
The president downplayed the idea that his words could cause Putin to escalate his aggression.
“The idea that he’s going to do something outrageous because I called him for what he was, and what he’s doing, is just not rational,” Biden said.