Biden said what we're all thinking: Ex-Defense Sec. calls Beltway out of touch on Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with members of the Government via videoconference. -/The Kremlin/dpa

One improvisational line in President Joe Biden's Saturday speech in Poland brought criticisms from the right on the Sunday morning news shows. The Fox network hosts were disgusted to see Biden refer to Vladimir Putin as a "butcher" for killing at least 2,909 people, including children, according to the United Nations human rights office on Sunday. Meanwhile, Russia has kidnaped and removed over 2,000 children from Mariupol over the past weeks, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Writing for USA Today, Jill Lawrence explained that Biden’s comment might end up being a good thing. "After all, we are all thinking exactly the same," she explained.

"When you call someone a butcher, because his army has turned the sovereign democratic nation of Ukraine into a hellscape of slaughtered civilians and leveled cities for no reason except hunger for power and control, do you want that butcher to remain in power? No," she wrote Sunday. "So President Joe Biden was stating the obvious Saturday when he said of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power."

Writing for the Daily Beast, David Rothkopf called it "another confected controversy."

Speaking to CNN on Sunday, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen agreed that it's the Washington Beltway being out of touch with the rest of the world. After all, Putin made it clear in 2016 he was going to intervene to change the regime in the United States.

"I think they're making it bigger than it is," said Cohen. "What President Biden was saying is, how can a person this evil be leading a people that great? The Russian people are great people. If they had a choice, they would never have voted to go into Ukraine to kill their brothers and their sisters and their cousins and their uncles. So, this is a one-man operation who has gone in here to kill people in a neutral country, not threatening him with 44 million people now, perhaps at least 4 million or less, maybe even 10 million before this is all over. And what Biden was saying is basically is how can a country this great be led by someone so evil who has — he has bombed innocent people. He has killed thousands of women and children. He has put them in a position of starving. He has kidnapped them, taking them back to Russia. And suddenly Republicans are getting concerned about this particular statement?"

He compared Biden to the former president, who, Cohen said, "would need a John Deere front loader to clean up all of the rhetorical mistakes." He explained that most Americans believe that Putin doesn't deserve to be the leader and that the U.S. will never be back on the same terms with Russia again until Putin is gone.

Rothkopf agreed with the sentiment, saying that after a poetic speech about freedom and against extremism and authoritarianism, the right is instead seeking to undermine the message.

"While controversy swirled around the remark, and the White House later sought to walk it back, that moment of clarity from the plain-spoken president elevated his speech," wrote Rothkopf. "It made it clear that Biden’s passion was deeply felt and real. It was the truth at a time when it is essential to be honest about Putin’s barbarism and the threat he poses not just to the world but to the people of his own country who will be denied full access to the community of nations so long as he remains in office."

It begs the question of whether the Republicans, the Fox network and others critical of Biden's remarks are advocating for Putin to remain and believe that he can be controlled if defeated. It's something Cohen doesn't necessarily believe since Putin is already hinting at using nuclear and chemical weapons.

"He has violated every rule of the international law and order," Cohen continued. "As such, this is the great irony. Putin invading another country is saying, 'I decide what the rules of engagement will be. No, you can't bring aircraft into this fight to help save the Ukrainian people. No, you can't have surface-to-air missiles that take my aircraft down. I decide what the rules will be. Not you.' This is where I think the western world has to recognize that what Putin is doing is setting the rules in his favor telling you to stay out."

He went on to compare it to an arsonist setting fire to a home with a family inside and then saying if you try to put it out, he'll set the whole neighborhood on fire. Meanwhile, the right is arguing over who gets to hold the garden hose.

"Let’s say what we really mean and make Putin wonder what we will do," Lawrence suggested in her column.

See the full video of Cohen below:


Biden said what we're all thinking: Ex-Defense Sec. calls Beltway out of touch on Putin www.youtube.com