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WALK BACK: White House clarifies Biden’s comments about Putin’s removal

WALK BACK: White House clarifies Biden’s comments about Putin’s removal

WALK BACK: White House clarifies Biden's comments about Putin's removal
https://twitter.com/JamesFallows/status/1507799502245216256?s=20

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In a speech in Poland today, President Biden issued a powerful call for Vladimir Putin to be removed as president of Russia, seemingly giving tacit approval for regime change in the nation violating international law with its uninstigated invasion of Ukraine.

Or did he?

At face value, Biden’s comments seem pretty unequivocal:

“Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness. We will have a different future, a brighter future, rooted in democracy and principals, hope and light, of decency and dignity, of freedom, and possibilities,” Biden said, before ending with quite the kicker.

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” the U.S. president exclaimed.

It was a line delivered with emotion and conviction, and, perhaps, in an unscripted moment, a line improvised beyond any officially announced U.S. policy.

While Biden’s speech was cheered by the Ukrainian refugees and their Polish hosts in attendance, White House officials scrambled to clarify and walk back the simplest and most appealing interpretation of the American president’s remarks.

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The nervous back peddling by cautious White House staff didn’t sit well with many social media commenters who saw Biden’s statement as perfectly appropriate given the war crimes that have been alleged in the Russian invasion of their neighboring country.

Others disputed the implication that Biden’s words actually meant that U.S. policy had shifted regarding regime change in Russia.

Some people reacted to the characterization of Biden’s comments as an unintended gaffe.

The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson focused on the anticipated Republican and right-wing media reaction to Biden’s statement and the White House walk back.

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) weighed in with his own take on whether Biden purposefully called for Putin’s ouster.

It’s obvious that the reaction to Biden’s speech in Poland depends largely on the political orientation of the person reacting to his statement.

In the end, though the one analysis that is likely to prevail is more about the debate over the speech’s meaning than about Biden’s call for an end to the Putin regime.

You can watch President Joe Biden’s speech in Poland today in the video clip below to make your own decision about his comments.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.  

RELATED STORY: NAME CALLING: Biden describes Putin with a word that makes Russia flinch

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