President Joe Biden has many a critic over what is widely seen as a failed agenda, as reflected in his approval ratings, but politics aside, seeing the feeble-minded 79-year-old commander-in-chief talk about contingency plans involving nuclear strikes that “could end in Armageddon” has got to make the American people feel uneasy.
In what has proven to be a rare occasion, participating in an actual interview, Biden sat down with CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Tuesday and used the term “Armageddon” for a second time, despite widespread criticism that such rhetoric is “deeply irresponsible” — the president said last week that as a result of the Ukraine-Russia conflict the risk of nuclear Armageddon is at its highest level since 1962.
“He, in fact, cannot continue with impunity to talk about the use of a tactical nuclear weapon, as if that’s a rational thing to do,” the president said. “The mistakes get made…and the miscalculation could occur. No one can be sure of what would happen. And it could end in Armageddon.”
Biden also made it clear that he has no intentions of speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin anytime soon when Tapper asked about the upcoming G20 Summit.
“Look, he’s acted brutally,” he said. “He’s acted brutally. I think he’s committed war crimes. And so, I don’t – I don’t see any rationale to meet with him now.”
Tapper asked about a “red line” for the United States and NATO when it comes to Putin and his war of aggression against Ukraine, and whether he has directed the Pentagon and other agencies “to game out” a response if Putin used a tactical nuclear weapon.
“Have you asked the Pentagon to game it out though? I mean, just in case,” the CNN anchor asked.
Biden replied that there have been “discussions” on that but it would be “irresponsible” of him to comment on the matter, and when Tapper pressed on whether the Pentagon received any instruction on the matter he said, “The Pentagon did not have to be asked.”
— CNN (@CNN) October 12, 2022
Citing French President Emmanuel Macron and others who have said that they believe Putin is not acting rationally, Tapper asked Biden if he sees the Russian leader as rational.
“I think he is a rational actor who’s miscalculated significantly,” Biden said, before referencing the build-up to war earlier this year when “no one believed that he was going to invade Ukraine.”
“‘You listen to what he says, if you listen to the speech he made after… when that decision was being made, he talked about the whole idea of — he was needed to be the leader of Russia that united all the Russian speakers – I mean, it’s just, I just think it’s irrational,’ Biden said.
Quick to clarify that he meant Putin’s speech was irrational, not the man, Biden added, “I think he thought he was going to be welcomed with open arms, that this was the home of Mother Russia in Kyiv, where he was going to be welcomed. And I think he just totally miscalculated.”
As for what Putin should do at this point, Biden said the Kremlin leader’s off-ramp was that he “could leave” Ukraine.
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