President Biden repeatedly emphasized during a Monday press briefing that his recent comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin did not indicate a policy change from one that does not support regime change, but he maintained that people of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ilk should not be running nations.
Biden was asked by several reporters at the White House Monday to address his comment, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” made at the conclusion of a Saturday speech in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland.
Biden insisted he is not “walking back” his comments, seeking to separate his wish for Putin not to be leading Russia from an official policy that would seek to remove him.
“I was expressing my outrage at the behavior of this man,” Biden said, calling the Russian president’s behavior “outrageous” and that his comments about him were “more an aspiration than anything.”
“He shouldn’t be in power,” Biden added. “People like this shouldn’t be ruling countries, but they do, in fact. They do. But, doesn’t mean I can’t express my outrage about it.”
“I’m not walking anything back. The fact of the matter is, I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward the way Putin is dealing and the actions of this man, which is just brutality,” said Biden.
“But I want to make it clear: I wasn’t then, nor am I now, articulating a policy change. I was expressing the moral outrage that I feel, and I make no apologies for it,” he added.
Other reporters asked Biden about his Putin remarks, including Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy, who pressed the president to explain why the White House walked back Biden’s comments three times during his overseas trip.
“Are you worried that other leaders in the world are going to start to doubt that America is back if some of these big things that you say on the world stage keep getting walked back?” asked Doocy.
Biden denied that such walk backs occurred, to which Doocy responded by noting the White House clarified Biden’s unscripted comments that suggested U.S. troops would be in Ukraine, that the United States might use a chemical weapon and that Putin could be removed from power.
Biden responded by suggesting that his comments had been misinterpreted.