In a time of crisis, you want a leader who is focused, articulate, and free from hyperbole, but when you’ve got Joe Biden, what you need is a team of Damage Control Coordinators, ready at the drop of a gaffe to run interference and spin statements that, left alone, could escalate an already explosive situation.
Such is the unenviable task of White House officials, who have had to repeatedly walk back comments from the president since he departed Wednesday for Europe on what CNN characterized as “one of [the] highest-stakes presidential trips in recent memory.”
Three times already, the Biden administration has had to step forward and explain what Joe Biden really meant, including a red-alarm rush on Saturday to assure the world that the President of the United States didn’t really call for a violent regime change in a nuclear-equipped nation.
At a Saturday speech in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, President Biden concluded with words that really sounded like he advocating for the forced removal of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said plainly.
On previous occasions, the president has referred to the Russian leader as a “thug,” “a murderous dictator,” and a “butcher,” so calling for Putin to be ousted doesn’t seem out of line with the president’s point of view.
Biden calls Putin a “butcher.” This could be what Moscow uses to break off all diplomatic relations. (They previously threatened it when Biden called Putin a “thug” and “murderous dictator.”) pic.twitter.com/6uW3agbclU
— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) March 26, 2022
Unfortunately, it is out of line with official White House policy.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS’ Face the Nation the exact opposite of what Biden expressed.
“For us, it’s not about regime change,” Blinken said. “The Russian people have to decide who they want to lead them.”
Blinken’s statement appeared to echo that of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki when she said, “We are not advocating for killing the leader of a foreign country or regime change. That is not the policy of the United States.”
So, if you thought you heard the president do exactly that in Poland, you were clearly mistaken.
“The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region,” a White House official told Fox News Digital. “He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”
The Kremlin must have misheard Biden, too, as they quickly issued a response dismissing the president’s remarks.
“That’s not for Biden to decide,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Reuters. “The president of Russia is elected by Russians.”
Just the day before, Biden shocked the world by telling U.S. troops in Poland what they could expect when they got to Ukraine.
Speaking to the 82nd Airborne Division, Biden said, “And you’re going to see when you’re there — and some of you have been there — you’re going to see — you’re going to see women, young people standing — standing… in front of a damn tank, just saying, ‘I’m not leaving. I’m holding my ground.'”
“They’re incredible,” the president said. “But they take a lot of inspiration from us.”
Cue the fixers.
No… the Commander-In-Chief didn’t just tell a bunch of soldiers he was deploying them to war-torn Ukraine. Don’t be silly.
“The President has been clear we are not sending U.S. troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position,” a White House spokesperson stated soon after the remarks were made.
Biden's foreign trip has been a complete disaster.
Biden called for regime change in Russia, said U.S. troops were being sent to Ukraine, and suggested he would use chemical weapons against Putin.
His staff had to correct him each time. pic.twitter.com/FUfgcA5EGn
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 26, 2022
And on Thursday, Joe Biden clearly stated that, should Russia use chemical weapons in Ukraine, they would “trigger a response in kind.”
It was a direct answer to a direct question.
But, don’t be distracted by that.
National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan was on-deck to decipher the president’s true intention.
“In kind” doesn’t actually mean the U.S. would respond with the same weapons Russia uses. “In kind” isn’t meant to suggest that, should Putin set of a chemical catastrophe, the United States would drop a chemical weapon on Moscow.
What “in kind” means, Sullivan explained, is that “we’ll respond accordingly” and Russia would pay a “severe price.”‘
“We will collect the form and nature of our response based on the nature of the action Russia takes. And we’ll do so in coordination with our allies,” Sullivan stated. “And I won’t go beyond that other than to say the United States has no intention of using chemical weapons, period, under any circumstances.”
“I will just say,” Sullivan added, “with respect to any use of weapons of mass destruction — nuclear, chemical, biological — Russia would pay a severe price.”
That White House officials are falling over themselves to cover for the president as our nation stands on the precipice of war does not, to say the least, inspire confidence.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) tweeted Saturday, “Maybe whoever is correcting Biden should be given The Football too.”
“This is so incredibly pathetic,” Clay Travis tweeted. “Biden’s a joke.”
That tweet can be seen below along with other responses, including a call to invoke the 25th Amendment:
Biden says U.S. will use chemical weapons. White House corrects him.
Biden says the 82nd Airborne is on its way to Ukraine. Corrected again.
Biden calls for regime change in Russia. Corrected a third time.
Maybe whoever is correcting Biden should be given The Football too.
— Rep. Darrell Issa (@repdarrellissa) March 26, 2022
President Biden ended his speech by saying, “For god’s sake, this man (Putin) cannot remain in power.” The White House then released this statement to try and cover for Biden’s unscripted statement. This is so incredibly pathetic. Biden’s a joke. pic.twitter.com/05fO4SiNjl
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 26, 2022
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