Biden Calls for Regime Change in Russia – or Does He?

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Old Joe Biden has always been a gaffe machine, and his dementia haze has only accentuated his tendency to run off at the mouth and say things that his handlers end up having to walk back. His current Europe trip has seen one verbal disaster after another: Old Joe told American troops they were going to Ukraine and said that the United States would respond “in kind” to a Russian chemical weapons attack. Now he has made it a trifecta; during a Saturday speech in Warsaw, Old Joe thundered, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” referring, of course, to Vladimir Putin. The Washington Post’s White House bureau chief, Ashley Parker, tweeted: “Worth noting that the Biden administration so far has been at pains to NOT even hint at anything approximately regime change.” Right. And the Biden administration still hasn’t done so. Only Old Joe did, and it’s by no means clear that he was enunciating official American policy.


Biden’s words were clear enough. CNN ran with them, headlining its report this way: “Biden calls for regime change in Russia, saying Putin ‘cannot remain in power.’” CNBC announced, “Biden says Putin ‘cannot remain in power’ in sweeping speech on Russian invasion of Ukraine.” The Hill, still gushing over Old Joe even at this late date, chimed in with “Biden declares Putin ‘cannot remain in power’ in fiery Warsaw remarks.” Fiery but mostly peaceful, eh?

The White House, on the other hand, immediately went into cleanup-on-aisle-six mode. An unnamed Biden administration official offered this explanation: “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.” Regime propagandist Jim Acosta dutifully amplified this, tweeting “WH officials say President Biden was not calling for ‘regime change’ when he said Putin ‘cannot remain in power.’”

Obama’s foreign policy wonk Ben Rhodes gave us his own spin: “That speech was not about regime change in Russia it was about the long term stakes in the fight between democracy and autocracy. Unless the Biden team formally says it has a regime change policy, I wouldn’t take one line as such a consequential shift,” he tweeted.

Blake Hounshell of the New York Times contributed a take on Biden’s overheated remark that was the very soul of cool: “I’m reminded today of Obama’s comment on Syria in 2011, ‘Assad must go,’ which never really became U.S. policy in a serious way.”


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Sure, Blake. Fine. Joe lies almost all the time anyway, so even if he did intend to say that the United States was getting behind regime change in Russia, that doesn’t mean that he meant it or was going to do anything about it. The inevitable question, however, is how long people such as Blake Hounshell and Ben Rhodes and Jim Acosta are going to remain content to be the man with the dustpan and broom, following after Old Joe the circus elephant? For that matter, how long can America afford, especially at this time of crisis, to have a leader, even a figurehead, who keeps shooting off his mouth and creating new international tensions practically every day?

Matt Margolis pointed out Friday that “many of us warned that Joe Biden couldn’t handle the presidency, and his gaffes this week proved that gaffes like these could be hugely consequential in a really, really bad way. This man should never have run for president. He likely knew that his mental health wasn’t sufficient to handle the pressures of the job, and now we all have to sit on the edge of our seats wondering what he’ll say next and whether he’ll accidentally start a world war.”

Absolutely. And every day we have to sit on the edge of our seats again, wondering what Biden is going to say now. Whose bright idea was it for this man, who is obviously not in control of what he says, to go to Europe now? Biden himself has admitted many times that he is not the man who is running things, referring to unnamed people who are going to get upset with him if he takes questions or who have told him which regime propagandists masquerading as journalists he is allowed to call on at his Potemkin press conferences. Those people should recognize that their puppet has slipped a string. Time for a new one — and there she is, cackling in the wings.



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