Looks like that White Hosue effort to remake Joe Biden once again crashed on the rocks.
They wanted to have him make a Reagan-like speech against Vladimir Putin. But as with anything Joe Biden, he said something that got him in trouble. During the speech, as we reported, he seemed to encourage regime change against Putin. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power!”
"For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power."
Did Joe Biden just endorse regime change in Russia? pic.twitter.com/QNLG8OZ3Oz
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 26, 2022
The media was immediately touting it.
Biden in Poland: “For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power," he said of Putin
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 26, 2022
🚨POTUS ends his speech with the strongest words we’ve heard yet directed at Putin: "For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
— annmarie hordern (@annmarie) March 26, 2022
The Ukrainian media and German media were all over it.
⚡️ US President Joe Biden said that Russian President Vladimir Putin should no longer lead Russia.
“For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power,” he said during his speech in Warsaw.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 26, 2022
US President Joe Biden ended his speech in Poland by calling for Russian leader Vladimir Putin's removal, saying: "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power." pic.twitter.com/TcbqiiL160
— DW News (@dwnews) March 26, 2022
But the White House knew what a mistake he’d made — that it would be viewed as Biden advocating regime change — and that it would inflame the situation; that Putin would likely use it as a propaganda point showing that the U.S. was trying to get rid of him and that would make things even worse. It also might be implying they were taking action that they weren’t willing to take. So they immediately tried to unring the bell and walk it back.
🚨President Biden ended his speech seeming to call for regime change in Russia: “For Gods sake, this man cannot remain in power!”
Immediately after, a WH official walks that back. “He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.” pic.twitter.com/kFCJGacwNH
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) March 26, 2022
So now they have to explain to the rest of the world: Whoops, he didn’t mean that — we’re going to try to say it means something other than what he said.
Instead of having the Reagan-like speech that they’d hoped for, they once again had a mess. This was the third time on this trip alone that they had to clean up after Biden, but this one was even more public given how they hyped and highlighted the speech. Previously, they had to clean up him saying that the U.S. would respond “in-kind” if Russia did a chemical attack. They also had to spin him telling the 82nd Airborne that they would see people in the streets fighting for freedom, standing against tanks, apparently referring to Ukraine. The White House had to say, no, Biden wasn’t sending troops to Ukraine, despite what Biden said. He also said that “some of you (troops) have been there,” something else likely to set off Russia and endanger the American troops in Poland.
After the White House came out to clean it up, the media almost suffered whiplash in an effort to justify the clean-up.
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski tried to phrase it as Biden keeping the Russians guessing.
Like Reagan, Biden Is keeping tyrants guessing.
— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) March 26, 2022
More like keeping his own communications team guessing and having apoplexies over how to cover the mess.
The White House tried to spin a bit more. The White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain retweeted Ben Rhodes. You know you’re getting low when you have to rely upon Ben Rhodes to help you spin.
So the official White House position now appears to be that taking Biden at his word is Russian propaganda?! pic.twitter.com/O5DZW7SkIs
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) March 26, 2022
But honest media know that this was all a problem.
The White House’s contention is that he misspoke. If that’s true, that’s really bad. If he was being genuine but his own staff is undermining his message, that’s also really bad. Either way, total muddle at the worst time and place.
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) March 26, 2022
“The President didn’t mean a wall. He also didn’t mean tear down. He was referring to long-standing policy on West Berlin”
— Bruno Maçães (@MacaesBruno) March 26, 2022
It’s hard to see how this is good when you hand Putin the propaganda point he’s been pushing to his people. That could make Putin more recalcitrant to talk peace because he’s now received confirmation, in his mind, that we do want to take him out. This is the great danger of having Biden in the office.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member