- The Washington Times
Saturday, March 26, 2022

Moments after President Biden’s impromptu call Saturday for Russian President Vladimir Putin to no longer remain in power the White House went to work cleaning up his remarks.

A White House official said the president’s remarks were about Mr. Putin asserting his authority outside of Russia.

“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,” the official said in an email.

In the middle of his remarks, laying blame on Mr. Putin for the carnage in Ukraine, Mr. Biden appeared to call for the Russian president to step down.

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” the president said in a speech in Warsaw, Poland marking the end of his four-day European trip.

The comment made headlines around the world. It was the furthest Mr. Biden has gone in calling for a regime change in Russia, reflecting a major turning point in U.S. rhetoric towards Moscow. U.S. officials had previously said their goal was not its goal.

It also marked an escalation in the war of words between Mr. Biden and Russia. In the same speech, Mr. Biden called Mr. Putin a “dictator,” and while speaking with Ukrainian refugees earlier Saturday, he referred to the Russian leader as “a butcher.”

Most of Mr. Biden’s speech was dedicated to tearing into Mr. Putin for the Russian attack on Ukraine and calling on the Russian people not to support the war. 

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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