Biden Claims White House Didn’t Walk Back Europe Comments, Says He Doesn’t ‘Care’ What Putin Thinks

Screenshot YouTube, President Joe Biden Announces His 2023 Federal Budget 3/28/22

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden was hit with a barrage of questions Monday afternoon after he declared in Poland that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”

The president’s declaration at the end of his speech in Warsaw on Saturday prompted immediate headlines — and damage control from the White House. A White House official quickly sought to clarify Biden’s comment, saying that he “was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”

The official also said Biden’s “point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.” On Sunday evening, Biden briefly addressed the comment as well, telling reporters that “no,” he was not calling for regime change.

Following remarks on his budget Monday, Biden was pressed further about his call that Putin “cannot remain in power.”

Biden, speaking from the White House, said this time that he was not “walking anything back.” The president also maintained his remark that Putin “cannot remain in power” did not mark a shift in policy from the administration.

“I was expressing my outrage,” Biden told reporters. “He shouldn’t remain in power, just like bad people shouldn’t continue to do bad things. But it doesn’t mean we have a fundamental policy to do anything to take Putin down in any way.”

“I’m not walking anything back. The fact of the matter is, I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward the way Putin is dealing and the actions of this man, which is just brutality,” the president added.


As reporters continued to seek clarification regarding the president’s comment, Biden said he wasn’t concerned that his remarks could complicate an already tense situation with Russia. (RELATED: Biden Admin Will Welcome Up To 100,000 Refugees Fleeing Russian Aggression In Ukraine)

“I don’t care what he thinks,” Biden said of Putin. “Look, here’s the deal — he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do.”

“He’s not affected by anybody else — including, unfortunately, apparently his own advisers,” Biden added. “He is a guy who goes to the beat of his own drum, and the idea that he is going to do something outrageous because I called him for what he was and what he’s doing, I think it’s just not rational.”

Biden also claimed his administration was not forced to walk back multiple comments — including his call that Putin “cannot remain in power” — that he made during his trip.

“None of the three occurred,” the president claimed after Fox News’ Peter Doocy pointed out three instances that prompted walk-backs or clarifications from the White House.


In addition to Biden’s comment about Putin, the president said during his Europe trip that the U.S. would respond “in kind” if Russia uses chemical weapons in Ukraine.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters during a press briefing shortly afterwards that Biden was not implying that the U.S. would respond with chemical weapons of their own.

Another clarification came after Biden spoke with U.S. troops stationed in Poland. During those remarks, Biden described the horrors of what the troops are “going to see when you’re there [Ukraine].”

The White House later said Biden’s position on not sending U.S. troops into Ukraine remains the same, despite his apparent gaffe.

“You interpret the language that way. I was talking to the troops. We were talking about helping train the troops that are — the Ukrainian troops that are in Poland. That’s the context. I sat there with those guys for a couple hours. That’s what we talked about,” Biden said in part when presented with the three examples Monday.