When President Joe Biden said in off-the-script remarks in Poland on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” he caused White House staff to quickly scramble to walk back his statement lest it be interpreted as a call for regime change in Moscow.
“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,” a White House official told news media in an email shortly after Biden’s surprising statement.
But then on Monday, Biden told reporters that he makes “no apologies” for his initial statement, which was cleaned up by his staff, and that he had meant to express “moral outrage” rather than policy change.
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