President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” in remarks made Saturday.
The president spoke in Warsaw, Poland to wrap up his multi-day trip to Europe. His comments mark one of the strongest statements made by the president and his administration so far regarding Putin being in power, though the White House sought to quickly clarify his comments afterwards.
“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power!” Biden, standing outside of the Royal Castle, emphatically declared at the end of his speech.
The administration walked back Biden’s comment moments after his speech concluded, with a White House official clarifying that Biden “was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia.”
“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 official said.
RUSSIA REACTS… ‘WEAK AND SICK’… REUTERS:
“That’s not for Biden to decide,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters. “The president of Russia is elected by Russians.”
Peskov later told Russia’s RBC that Biden was clearly “the victim of many misconceptions”.
“This speech – and the passages which concern Russia – is astounding, to use polite words,” Peskov said. “He doesn’t understand that the world is not limited to the United States and most of Europe.” […]
“This is how a weak and sick person behaves – psychiatrists will be able to explain his behaviour better,” Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, said on Saturday. “American citizens should be ashamed of their president.”
The president was pressed on his comments as he left a Washington, D.C., church Sunday evening, with one reporter asking if he wants “Putin removed” and whether he was “calling for regime change.”
“No,” Biden shouted back.
A WEEK FULL OF WALKBACKS… FOX: White House walks back multiple Biden remarks during Europe trip on Putin, chemical weapons, troops
The White House has been forced to walk back or clarify multiple remarks made by President Biden during his trip to Europe — including having to clarify on Saturday that the president was not calling for regime change in Moscow. […]
On Friday, Biden was speaking to U.S. troops in Poland, and he said that Ukrainian people “have a lot of backbone” before appearing to suggest that the troops would soon be in Ukraine itself — something U.S. officials have repeatedly ruled out. […]
A White House spokesperson later clarified that remark: “The President has been clear we are not sending U.S. troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position.” […]
On Thursday, Biden was asked if the U.S. would respond if Russia were to use chemical weapons as part of its invasion of Ukraine. Biden said that such a move by the Russians would “trigger a response in kind.”
After that remark, it was up to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to clarify. Sullivan was asked what Biden meant by “in kind.”
Sullivan said that meant “we’ll respond accordingly” and that Russia would pay a “severe price.”
MEANWHILE… BIDEN PROPOSES TAXING *POTENTIAL* INCOME… PLAN CALLED ‘BILLIONAIRE MINIMUM INCOME TAX,’ BUT ALSO TARGETS MILLIONAIRES… CNN: White House to unveil new push for minimum income tax on super rich
The White House is set to unveil a new minimum income tax for billionaires Monday as part of President Joe Biden’s budget proposal for FY2023, according to a White House document released Saturday.
The “Billionaire Minimum Income Tax” would require households worth more than $100 million to pay at least 20% on their full income, including unrealized investment income, the White House said in a fact sheet, with over half of the revenue coming from billionaire households.
“The Billionaire Minimum Income Tax will ensure that the very wealthiest Americans pay a tax rate of at least 20 percent on their full income, including unrealized appreciation,” the White House said. “This minimum tax would make sure that the wealthiest Americans no longer pay a tax rate lower than teachers and firefighters.”
SOLEMN CNN HOST INVITES CORY BOOKER TO ATTACK GOP SENATOR FOR ASKING KBJ A VERY BASIC QUESTION… RNC: Democrat Cory Booker says it was “beyond the pale” to ask Ketanji Brown Jackson if she could provide a definition for the word “woman” (VIDEO)
“The facts are clear here, this is unbelievable,” Klobuchar said Sunday. “You have the wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice advocating for an insurrection, advocating for overturning a legal election to the sitting president’s chief of staff. And, she also knows this election, these cases, are gonna come before her husband. This is a textbook case for removing him, recusing him from these decisions. And… all I hear is silence from the Supreme Court right now, and that better change in the coming week.”
The senator said federal courts, except the Court, have ethics rules requiring judges to recuse themselves from cases where they hold a personal matter or connection. She said Thomas recused himself from a 1994 case regarding a school his son attended, and Justice Stephen Breyer to a case connected to an entity his wife held a position on.
ABC host Jon Karl then asked what the outcome will be if Thomas does not recuse himself from cases involving the election.
“The entire integrity of the Court is on the line here, and they had better speak out on this because you cannot have a justice hearing cases related to this election,” she continued. “And in fact, the ethics rules that applied to all the other federal judges, say that it involves a family member or appearance of impartiality, they have to recuse themselves. So, not only should he recuse himself, but this Supreme Court badly needs ethics rules.”
BEAU BIDEN FOUNDATION SHORTCHANGES KIDS, ENRICHES EXECUTIVES… NY POST: Beau Biden Foundation rakes in millions, spends fraction on kid programs
The Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children raked in $3.9 million in 2020, but spent only a fraction of that on its purported mission to help kids, The Post has learned.
The Delaware-based charity, which was started in honor of President Biden’s late son, got an infusion of $1.8 million from the Biden Foundation before that group shut down in 2020, according to the charities’ latest tax filings. The Biden Foundation was started by Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, to champion “progress and prosperity for American families.”
The Beau Biden charity also took in $225,000 from entities tied to a top political donor and bundler to President Biden.
Despite the $2 million-plus windfall, the organization put only $544,961 in 2020 toward its stated purpose of protecting children from abuse, according to tax filings.
The charity spent a total of $932,865 that year, with a large chunk of it going to the six-figure salaries of Biden cronies who held executive jobs at the non-profit.
GOP CONGRESSMAN RESIGNS… Rep. Jeff Fortenberry Resigns Following Felony Conviction
Republican Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry resigned Saturday after his recent conviction for lying to federal investigators and falsification of campaign documents.
Fortenberry stated his intent to resign from his position effective March 31, according to the Associated Press.
“It has been my honor to serve with you in the United States House of Representatives. Due to the difficulties of my current circumstances, I can no longer effectively serve,” Fortenberry stated in his letter of resignation. […]
Fortenberry was convicted on Thursday after being charged with two counts of making false statements to federal investigators and one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts after lying to authorities in two separate interviews about an illegal $30,000 contribution made to his campaign by an unknown foreign billionaire, according to the AP.
ELDERLY HOUSE SPEAKER EATS SOFT DESSERT FOR BREAKFAST… Nancy Pelosi Says She Eats Ice Cream For Breakfast
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told podcast host Ruthie Rogers Tuesday that she enjoys eating chocolate ice cream for breakfast and that she used to try to steal the dessert in college.
“It’s convenient, it’s right there, it has a long shelf life, you don’t have to worry about it,” Pelosi said on an episode of the River Café Table 4 podcast. “I have it for breakfast. It’s a great way to start the day.”
“I don’t have it every day, but I have it often,” the Democrat from California explained.
CHRIS WALLACE WHINES IN PROMO TOUR FOR HIS NEW VLOG… NYT: Chris Wallace Says Life at Fox News Became ‘Unsustainable’
“I just no longer felt comfortable with the programming at Fox.”
Chris Wallace uttered those words matter-of-factly, in between bites of a Sweetgreen salad at his new desk inside the Washington bureau of CNN, the network he joined in January after nearly two decades at Fox News. […]
But in December, Mr. Wallace, 74, issued a final verdict: He was done. In a surprise move, he declined to renew his contract as host of “Fox News Sunday” and jumped to archrival CNN. His daily interview show — “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” — starts Tuesday on the new CNN+ streaming service.
So why did Mr. Wallace change the channel?
“I’m fine with opinion: conservative opinion, liberal opinion,” Mr. Wallace said in his first extensive interview about his decision to leave. “But when people start to question the truth — Who won the 2020 election? Was Jan. 6 an insurrection? — I found that unsustainable.”
PAPER BEATS ROCK… Will Smith Open-Hand Slaps Chris Rock During The Oscars
Will Smith got into an incredibly bizarre altercation with Chris Rock during the Oscars.
During the Sunday night awards show, Smith walked on stage and hit the legendary comedian in the face after a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s lack of hair. […]
Chris Rock could be heard telling the audience, “Will Smith just smacked the sh*t out of me,” and Smith appeared to respond with, “keep my wife’s name out your f**ing mouth.”
BROADCAST VERSION… VARIETY: Here’s the moment Chris Rock made a “G.I. Jane 2” joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, prompting Will Smith to punch him and yell, “Leave my wife’s name out of your f–king mouth.” #Oscars (VIDEO)
EXPLAINER… RAUL MADRIZ: Jada Suffers from alopecia, which is a hair loss sickness. G.I. Jane was a movie released in 1997 where Demi Moore plays the role of a hairless sergeant… when Chris Rock mentions about part 2 of that movie it refers to Jada hairless look, and that is what upsets Will…
JADEN SMITH: And That’s How We Do It
DURING COMMERCIAL, DENZEL WASHINGTON, TYLER PERRY, BRADLEY COOPER TALK WILL SMITH DOWN… SCOTT FEINBERG: During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side. (VIDEO)
SMITH WINS OSCAR FOR ‘KING RICHARD,’ APOLOGIZES TO ACADEMY… BUT NOT ROCK… ABC: “I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees,” Will Smith says in intense and lengthy remarks that occurred after he hit Chris Rock on the #Oscars stage. (VIDEO)
MEANINGLESS STATEMENT FROM ‘THE ACADEMY’… @THEACADEMY: The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.
LAPD NOT PURSUING CHARGES… LOIS BECKETT: Los Angeles Police Department statement: “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report.” (1/2)
“If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.” (2/2)
DAILY MAIL DIGS INTO WILL AND JADA’S BIZARRE ‘OPEN’ RELATIONSHIP… DAILY MAIL: Inside Will and Jada’s tumultuous and very unconventional 25-year marriage: Rumors of open relationship, same-sex ‘entanglement’ and denials of ‘infidelity’
Earlier this month, Smith and Jada found themselves the butt of a joke after he scooped Best Actor for his role in King Richard at the 75th Annual British Academy Film Awards.
BAFTAs host Rebel Wilson, 41, quipped on stage: ‘I thought his best performance over the past year was being OK with all his wife’s boyfriends!’
Speaking afterwards, Smith insisted that there has ‘never been infidelity’, despite Jada admitting in 2020 that she had an ‘entanglement’ with 29-year-old singer August Alsina.
‘There’s never been infidelity in our marriage. Jada and I talk about everything, and we have never surprised one another with anything ever,’ Smith said.
The actor – who has son Jaden, 23, and daughter Willow, 21, with Jada – added that he doesn’t care if people speculate about his marriage and instead he encourages the ‘chatter’ in the hope it will spark meaningful debate.
Oscars hosts Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes repeatedly chanted “gay” onstage Sunday in reference to the Florida parental rights bill.
“We’re gonna have a great night tonight — and for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night,” Sykes said. “Gay, gay, gay.” The audience cheered as the three hosts repeatedly sang the word.
Florida’s H.B. 1557, titled Parental Rights in Education, prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity to children attending kindergarten through third grade. The bill also requires parental consent for select healthcare treatments and bars school districts from keeping secrets from parents regarding changes to the students’ physical and mental health.
Critics and establishment media have labeled the legislation the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, though the term “gay” is not mentioned in the bill and allows for discussion of issues pertaining to sexual orientation and gender beginning in the fourth grade.
WISCONSIN LAWMAKERS TRY TO BAN SCHOOLS FROM DECEIVING PARENTS… Wisconsin’s ‘Parent Bill Of Rights’ Would Allow Parents To Sue Schools That Exploit Kids
The Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate have passed a “parent bill of rights” that would allow parents to sue schools that fail to inform them about their child’s gender or social transition, according to the bill.
The bill is sitting on the desk of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, according to The Federalist. It mirrors bills advanced or alluded to in other states including Indiana, Texas, Kansas, Florida, Virginia, Missouri, and Georgia.
Wisconsin’s bill mandates that parents have “the right to review all medical records related to the child, unless specified otherwise in law or court order,” “the right to determine the names and pronouns used for the child while at school,” and “the right to review instructional materials and outlines used by the child’s school.”
According to the bill text, parents are allowed to sue governmental bodies or school officials if they violate the rights of parents or usurp “the fundamental right of a parent or guardian to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of a child.”
UTAHANS BYPASS GOP GOVERNOR TO PROTECT WOMEN’S SPORTS… Utah Lawmakers Override Gov. Cox To Ban Biological Men From Women’s Sports
Utah lawmakers voted Friday to override Republican Gov. Spencer Cox’s veto of legislation intended to ban biologically male athletes from women’s sports.
The bill’s sponsors successfully persuaded 10 House lawmakers and 5 in the Senate to switch positions on the bill after initially opposing the legislation, the Associated Press reported. Utah has become the 12th state in the U.S. to impose restrictions on transgender athletes.
Utah Senate President J. Stuart Adams held the override vote to “preserve the integrity of women’s sports and ensure it remains fair and safe for all.”
Cox was one of two Republican governors, along with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, to veto bills surrounding transgender athletics this week. Cox cited fear of legal challenges to the bill, and said it would “likely bankrupt” the Utah High School Athletic Association. He also noted the lack of public support and discussion about the policy.
ELON MUSK FLOATS LAUNCHING NEW ‘FREE SPEECH’-PRIORITIZING SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM… RYAN SAAVEDRA: Elon Musk Reveals What Type Of Social Media Platform He Is Giving ‘Serious Thought To’ Creating
Entrepreneur Elon Musk said late on Saturday that he is giving “serious thought” to launching a new social media platform that will be transparent with its algorithms, prioritize free speech, and will keep propaganda to a minimum.
Musk, who is the co-founder of Tesla and founder of SpaceX, made the remarks in response to a tweet that asked, “Would you consider building a new social media platform, @elonmusk?”
“One that would consist an open source algorithm, one where free speech and adhering to free speech is given top priority, one where propaganda is very minimal,” the tweet continued. “I think that kind of a platform is needed.”
Musk responded, “Am giving serious thought to this.” […]
Musk followed up on the poll on Saturday, writing: “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?”
MARCH MADNESS… UNC PUTS DOWN ST. PETERS, SET TO FACE DUKE IN NCAA TOURNAMENT FOR FIRST TIME EVER… ESPN: North Carolina cruises to men’s basketball Final Four, sets up colossal clash with rival Duke
PHILADELPHIA — North Carolina and Duke have played each other 257 times since 1920. They’ve competed in thunderclap matchups of No. 1 vs. No. 2, have battled frequently in the ACC tournament, and even have faced off once in the 1971 NIT semifinals.
The 258th matchup will be the first one ever to take place in the NCAA tournament, a cosmic collision seemingly swiped from Tobacco Road fan fiction. North Carolina and Duke are located eight miles apart and have combined for 248 NCAA tournament wins, but their meeting in the Final Four in New Orleans will come with the highest stakes in the rivalry’s storied history.
No. 8-seeded North Carolina’s 69-49 evisceration of 15-seed Saint Peter’son Sunday sends the Tar Heels to the Final Four for the 21st time in program history, extending its all-time appearance lead over UCLA (18). With a week of buildup before the age-old rivals take the court, expect the game to be billed as the most anticipated meeting in the history of the Duke-UNC rivalry.
HOOKSTEAD: REPORT: St. Peter’s Coach Shaheen Holloway Is Taking The Seton Hall Job
St. Peter’s basketball coach Shaheen Holloway is reportedly on the move to Seton Hall.
According to 247Sports, the head coach of the Peacocks is hammering out a deal to become the next head coach of the Pirates.
Holloway was a standout player for the Pirates during his time in college.