Mar 27, 2022 - World

GOP senator: Biden speech "powerful" despite "gaffe"

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he thought President Biden's speech in Warsaw was "powerful," despite the president's ad-libbed remark that Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power," which Portman said played into the hands of Russian propagandists.

Driving the news: U.S. officials were quick to walk back the remark, emphasizing that the U.S. is not seeking regime change in Russia.

What they're saying: "Well, first, I think all of us believe the world would be a better place without Vladimir Putin," Portman said on Sunday. "But second, that's not the official U.S. policy, and by saying that — that regime change is our strategy — it plays into the hands of the Russian propagandists and plays into the hands of Vladimir Putin."

  • Asked by host Chuck Todd whether he agreed with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's assessment that Biden's speech was "still talk," Portman said he agreed.
  • "I thought the president's speech was very strong, despite the ad-lib at the end, and the gaffe at the end, but it was a powerful speech that does not match the action," Portman said.
  • "We need to do more, we need to do it more quickly," he said, voicing support for sending S-300 anti-aircraft systems and MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that "there is one individual that's trying to make regime change in Europe and that's Vladimir Putin, trying to change the regime in Ukraine."

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