Administration officials and Democratic lawmakers said Sunday, March 27, the impromptu remark was an emotional response to the president's interactions in Warsaw with refugees that had fled violence in Mariupol, a Ukrainian southern port city under weeks-long Russian bombardment and attacks.
Julianne Smith, the U.S. ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said Biden's comments were "a principled human reaction to the stories that he had heard that day."
Speaking in the Polish capital of Warsaw on Saturday, March 26, Biden appeared to release his strongest criticism of Putin to date.
"For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power," Biden said at the close of his speech. The following day, Biden denied he was seeking a regime change in Russia in an answer to a reporter's question.
His remark, which was dismissed by Moscow, marked an increase in Biden's verbal attacks on Putin, after earlier calling him a butcher and war criminal. It is also the most recent example of his fondness for going off script, obscuring his intended message and inciting White House aides to clarify his words.
Surprised by their boss' comments, Biden's aides scrambled to minimize potential damage. White House officials stated they still thought Biden's trip and speech were a success, even as some legislators and analysts said the remarks could complicate matters.
"It reminds us that message discipline has its virtues. It was reportedly very clearly an unscripted moment. And, you know, it will cause some challenges down the road," David Petraeus, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director and retired four-star general, said Sunday on ABC News.
According to Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden's comments were a "horrendous gaffe" that weakened a well-made speech.
"I think most people who don't deal in the lane of foreign relations don’t realize that those nine words that he uttered would cause the kind of eruption that they did," Risch said on Sunday.
"This administration has done everything they can to stop escalating. There's not a whole lot more you can do to escalate than to call for regime change. That is not the policy of the United States of America. Please, Mr. President, stay on script."
French President Emmanuel Macron, a close American ally, was worried that Biden's remark Saturday could complicate diplomatic efforts to stop the war.
"I wouldn't use this type of wording because I continue to hold discussions with President Putin. We want to stop the war that Russia has launched in Ukraine without escalation – that’s the objective," Macron said in an interview with France 3 TV.
Some European diplomats also warned that Biden's remarks could endanger Western efforts to keep lines of communications with Moscow open. Nevertheless, they said Biden's comments don't threaten any present peace talks because Russia has shown little inclination to engage seriously in such negotiations.
"No one thinks there's the chance of a diplomatic solution in the next few days or even a few weeks," said a senior European Union official while adding that Putin is "going to keep on pushing and trying to overhaul" the Ukrainian government. (Related: Putin puts Biden's king in check.)
A person acquainted with the matter said Sunday that top Biden administration officials hadn't yet heard personally from allies expressing concern about the remark since the president's speech.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna lauded Biden's speech. "It was really important to have the sense of an international leadership and an understanding of the tragedy which is happening there for us," she said.
From his side, Putin has long considered the U.S. and its allies are bent on toppling him and he is convinced that Washington was behind the 2011 mass protests in Russian cities, the biggest of his term. In a speech on Friday, March 25, he accused the West of trying to "cancel" Russia.
Some analysts warned that the U.S. president's remark could bolster Putin's hand at home, causing Russians to gather around him and an invasion they may not otherwise endorse.
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Watch the video below to know why Biden is standing by his comments that Putin can't remain in power.
This video is from the Chinese taking down Evil CCP channel on Brighteon.com.