Biden’s ‘Horrendous Gaffe’ Could Have Major Repercussions
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1953: Dr. Jonas Salk announces that he has successfully tested a vaccine to prevent Polio, clinical trials began the next year.
President Joe Biden went off script during a speech in Poland, saying “For God’s sake, this man [Russian President Vladimir Putin] cannot remain in power.”
Roughly 45 minutes later, the White House released a statement walking back Biden’s comment.
“The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region,” a White House official said in a statement. “He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”
The following day, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith reiterated that “the U.S. does not have a policy of regime change in Russia, full stop.”
Biden’s remark was met with criticism, with one lawmaker urging the president to stay on script.
“He gave a good speech at the end, but as you pointed out already, there was a horrendous gaffe right at the end of it,” said Sen. James Risch (R-ID), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I wish he would stay on script. Whoever wrote that speech did a good job for him. But my gosh, I wish they would keep him on script,” he added.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said Biden’s speech was “very strong, despite the ad-lib at the end, and the gaffe at the end.”
Some critics say the White House’s walk-back was worse than Biden’s initial off-script remark.
Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) said the “flip-flipping” damages Biden’s credibility and is “damaging to our ability to deter Putin.”
“And the commander in chief has to be taken seriously. I don’t think he’s taken seriously right now,” Waltz said.
French President Emmanuel Macron cautioned against escalating the situation in Ukraine.
“I wouldn’t use this type of wording because I continue to hold discussions with President Putin,” Macron said. “We want to stop the war that Russia has launched in Ukraine without escalation — that’s the objective.”