On Sunday evening, reporters flagged down President Joe Biden as he walked out of Catholic Mass in Washington, D.C., for clarification as to whether or not he was calling for regime change in Russia during his Saturday speech in Poland. In a word, Biden said, “no,” he was not calling for regime change when he ended his speech by saying, “For God’s sakes, this man cannot remain in power” in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Biden reportedly attended Holy Trinity Catholic Church in D.C. Sunday evening, and was greeted by D.C. press outside the church.
As Eugene Daniels of Politico reported, “Leaving Sunday Mass, President Biden was asked if he was calling for regime change in Russia. His answer, a quick ‘No.’”
Leaving Sunday Mass, President Biden was asked if he was calling for regime change in Russia.
His answer, a quick “No.”
— Eugene Daniels (@EugeneDaniels2) March 27, 2022
This comes more than 24 hours after the White House quickly clarified Biden’s remarks by claiming that the president was not talking about forcing Putin out of power. A White House official told reporters, “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.”
The Daily Wire reported on Sunday that regardless of what Biden meant by his comments, former CIA director Michael Morell told CBS News that Biden’s “unforced error” would bolster support for the Russian president.
“So, I think his comment that Putin had to go was an unforced error,” Morrell told CBS News’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday.
“It makes it — it strengthens Putin at home, makes it difficult for any domestic opposition to coalesce together,” he continued. “And no Russian citizen, none, wants to be told by the leader of Russia’s main enemy about what their leadership can look like and not.”
“The broader framing I worry about as well,” Morell continued. “I think we should frame this narrowly, Russia out of Ukraine, and impose so much pain on this man that he never thinks about doing this again. I think framing it as democracy versus autocracy drives the Chinese closer to the Russians and makes it difficult for some of our own allies who are autocrats to stand with us.”
Those comments can be seen here:
Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA under Obama: Biden’s accidental call for regime change was an “unforced error…strengthens Putin.” pic.twitter.com/flJOoeuEHG
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 27, 2022
On Sunday, The Daily Wire also reported that French President Emmanuel Macron criticized Biden for calling Putin a “butcher”:
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.’”