President Biden on Sunday evening said that he was not calling for a regime change when he said Russian President Vladimir Putin, that he also referred to as a “butcher,” “cannot remain in power.”
When asked while leaving church if his remarks in Poland were calling for Putin to be removed, Biden responded “no.”
The White House had already attempted to walk back the president’s comments, saying that Biden’s remarks were in reference to Putin exercising power outside of Russia.
“Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness,” Biden had said Saturday. “We will have a different future, a brighter future, rooted in democracy and principles, hope and light, of decency and dignity, of freedom and possibilities.”
“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” he added.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken also clarified on Sunday that the U.S. was not advocating for the ouster of Putin.
“I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else,” Blinken said during a visit to Jerusalem.
“As you know, and as you have heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia — or anywhere else, for that matter,” the secretary of State added, noting that such a decision would be “up to the people of the country in question.”
This story originally appeared on The Hill.
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