Alastair Stewart discusses Joe Biden’s Putin comments
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The US President has been accused of making “gaffes 3, 4 times a day”, each time relying on his entourage to correct his language with more diplomatic amendments. Mr Biden’s latest slip of the tongue came in Poland when he called Putin a “butcher” and said he “cannot remain in power”.
International reaction has poured in over the comments, with French President Emmanuel Macron leading the backlash.
He said: “I think we must do everything to avoid the situation getting out of hand.
“I wouldn’t use these kinds of words because I’m still in talks with President Putin.
“What is our collective goal here? We want to stop the war Russia has launched in Ukraine without going to war and without escalating things.
Russia’s Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said after the speech, “It is for the people of Russia to decide who leads the country” in words later echoed by Downing Street.
Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, said: “This is how a weak and sick person behaves – psychiatrists will be able to explain his behaviour better. American citizens should be ashamed of their president.”
Former President Donald Trump said Mr Biden’s words have “almost given” Putin an “incentive to use nuclear weapons.”
Speaking in an interview with Newsmax, Mr Trump said: “When you put him into a corner and you talk the way they’re talking – they’re talking weak – and they’re almost giving him an incentive.
“They’re handling him very badly, in my opinion.”
Mr Trump said Mr Biden was being forced to apologise “three, four times a day” for gaffes, adding: “We have people that don’t know what they’re doing.
“And it’s the most dangerous time in the history of our country, in my opinion.”
In Washington, congressional leaders were also expressing concern.
Idaho Republican Jim Risch, the senior Republican on the Senate foreign relations committee, called Mr Biden’s remarks a “horrendous gaffe”.
He said: “My gosh, I wish they would keep him on script.
“Any time you say or even, as he did, suggest the policy was regime change, it’s going to cause a huge problem.
“This administration has done everything they can to stop escalating.
“There’s not a whole lot more you can do to escalate than to call for regime change.”
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As on previous occasions, it was the ice-cold Secretary of State Anthony Blinken who was quick to defuse the tension after the comments, and douse the flames before damage was done.
He said: “I think the president, the White House, made the point last night, quite simply, President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else.
“As you know, and as you have heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia, or anywhere else, for that matter.
“In this case, as in any case, it’s up to the people of the country in question, it’s up to the Russian people.”
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Throughout his 47 years in public life, Mr Biden has had a habit of letting his glib tongue run ahead of his brain.
During his election campaign, Mr Biden once said Kamala Harris would one day have to step in and resolve a serious crisis.
Speaking to CNN at the time, he said: “I will develop some disease and say I have to resign” allowing Ms Harris to step in and clean up the mess.
In 2019, Mr Biden caused a storm back home when discussing education in less affluent areas.
A speech to a group of minority activists in Des Moines, Iowa, set the stage for a stunning Biden blunder.
“We should challenge students in these schools to have Advanced Placement programs,” he said at an Aug. 8, 2019, town hall.
“We have this notion, somehow if you’re poor you cannot do it.
“Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
After a pause, he realised his faux pas.
“Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids.
“No, I really mean it, but think how we think about it.”
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