White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained away several recent instances when President Joe Biden’s off-the-cuff comments required clean-up efforts from others in the administration.
Psaki said during Wednesday’s press briefing that Biden was simply living up to his campaign promise to “shoot from the shoulder.”
A reporter asks if the fact that the White House has to continually walk-back and contextualize Biden's comments sends "a signal to the world that there kind of is an asterisk next to anything the president says."
Jen Psaki says that Biden is just "calling it like he sees it." pic.twitter.com/FcDcxTWOQ9
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) April 13, 2022
“Jen, three times now the president has made comments about the war that the White House or he himself subsequently said did not reflect U.S. policy or a legal determination when he said Putin is a war criminal, when he said that Putin cannot remain in power, and of course, his comment about this being genocide in Ukraine,” the reporter explained.
“Does this not send a signal to the world that there kind of is an asterisk next to anything that the president says?” she asked.
“Well, when the president ran, he promised the American people he would ‘shoot from the shoulder,’ is his phrase that he often uses, and tell it to them straight,” Psaki replied. “And his comments yesterday — not once but twice — and on war crimes, are an exact reflection of that.”
“I don’t think anybody is confused about the atrocities that we’re seeing on the ground, the horrors of what we’re seeing on the ground, and different leaders around the world describe it in different ways,” Psaki continued. “But there is — what is unquestionable is what we’re seeing is horrific, the targeting of civilians, of hospitals, of — of even kids — and the president was calling it like he sees it, and that’s what he does.”
Biden’s recent remarks — particularly his claim that Putin “cannot remain in power” — raised immediate questions as to whether or not the president was advocating regime change in Russia.
His claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin was guilty of “war crimes” in Ukraine led to more questions regarding what the Biden administration was prepared to do in order to stop him.
But in addition to critics in the United States, Biden’s comments have provoked other foreign leaders to weigh in. French President Emmanuel Macron chastised Biden for calling Putin a “butcher,” suggesting that his words could cause Putin to escalate rather than negotiate going forward.
As The Daily Wire reported:
French President Emmanuel Macron lamented President Joe Biden’s choice of words during an interview, arguing that it could be escalatory to call Russian President Vladimir Putin out directly over multiple reports of war crimes in Ukraine.
Reporting site Visegrad 24 tweeted video of Macron along with the caption, “Macron is criticizing Biden for calling Putin ‘a butcher.’ The French president says it’s not constructive. ‘I would not use that kind of language. If a ceasefire is to be brokered, we must not escalate — neither through words nor actions.’”