Biden: Putin Line Was an Expression of 'Moral Outrage'

President says 'nobody believes' he was calling for ousting Russia's president
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2022 3:42 PM CDT
Biden: Putin Line Was an Expression of 'Moral Outrage'
President Biden listens to a question from a reporter about Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday at the White House.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – Two days after causing concern around the world by saying Russian President Vladimir Putin should not remain in office, President Biden said his outburst was a personal moral assessment, not a declaration of US policy. Nor was it a slipup, the president told reporters, per the New York Times, though his aides have tried to recast the message since Biden's speech Saturday in Warsaw. "The last thing I want to do is engage in a land war or a nuclear war with Russia," Biden said Monday. "I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward this man."

Russia called the line alarming and said that's not the kind of rhetoric that inspires cooperation between the two nations. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Monday that "we need military de-escalation and rhetoric de-escalation," per the AP. At an event to focus attention on his 2023 budget, Biden expressed irritation at ongoing discussion about his speech and said he wasn't retreating from his comments. "Nobody believes I was talking about taking down Putin. Nobody believes that," he said. The comment was "more an aspiration than anything," Biden said, per the Times, adding: "People like this shouldn't be ruling countries, but the fact they do doesn't mean I can't express my outrage." (Read more President Biden stories.)

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