On Tuesday, President Biden’s Director of Communications Kate Bedingfield claimed that Biden calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be removed from power “did not represent a policy change” from the United States.
“Forty-five minutes after the President’s remarks wrapped in Warsaw on Saturday, that was when a statement landed in everyone’s inboxes from an unnamed White House official saying that, no, the administration did not, in fact, change its policy with regards to Russia,” a reporter said.
“I’m wondering if you can tell us anything about what happened in the interim — in that 45 minutes. Did the President himself conclude that perhaps there needed to be some further clarification? Or did White House advisors come to him and say, ‘Perhaps you should revisit your recent remarks’? Why was that statement issued?” the reporter asked.
“Well, I can tell you from working for President Biden for seven years that only President Biden decides what President Biden is going to say,” Bedingfield replied. “So, the statement was simply a confirmation of what the President — of what you then heard from the President himself yesterday — that that statement did not represent a policy change — official policy change on behalf the United States.”
WH Comms Director Kate Bedingfield:
"Only President Biden decides what President Biden is going to say."
Joe Biden was literally caught yesterday reading prepared talking points from a notecard given to him word-for-word. pic.twitter.com/jlkoCm1zlR
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) March 29, 2022
Over the weekend, Biden said that Putin “cannot remain in power” – which he doubled down on shortly afterwards.
“A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never erase a people’s love for liberty. Brutality will never grind down their will to be free,” Biden said. “Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia — for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.”
“We will have a different future — a brighter future rooted in democracy and principle, hope and light, of decency and dignity, of freedom and possibilities,” Biden continued. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
On Monday, Biden told reporters that he made “no apologies” for his call for Putin to be removed from power, and that he did not view it as a provocation to Russia.
“I was expressing my outrage at the behavior of this man. It’s outrageous. It’s outrageous. And it’s more an aspiration than anything. He shouldn’t be in power,” Biden said. “There’s no — I mean, people like this shouldn’t be ruling countries, but they do. The fact they do — but it doesn’t mean I can’t express my outrage about it.”
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