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Former Obama defense secretary Leon Panetta offered a new explanation for President Biden’s gaffes made over the weekend.
While overseas, Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” The comments were later walked back by the White House.
“The President’s point was that Putin can not be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change,” the White House said.
However, Biden himself defended his comments on Monday, saying he did not call for regime change despite saying Putin should not be in power.
“I was expressing my outrage at the behavior of this man,” Biden said, calling the Russian president’s behavior “outrageous” and that his comments about him were “more an aspiration than anything.”
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA BLAST BIDEN’S UNSCRIPTED PUTIN COMMENT IN POLAND SPEECH FOR CREATING ‘CHAOS’
Leon Panetta, who served as secretary of defense when Biden was the vice president, suggested on Monday the president made the comments about Putin because of his Irish heritage
“I can understand his emotional feel about Putin not staying in office. I think a lot of people would probably agree with that. But at this point in the game, you really have to keep your messages very simple and very direct, and I think this created some confusion that was not helpful, “Panetta said during an interview on CNN’s” Newsroom. ” “I happen to think that Joe Biden, you know, he’s Irish, really has a great deal of compassion when he sees that people are suffering. And I think it overwhelmed him in the sense of seeing all of the horrors that were resulting from this war. “
“So, you know, from a personal point of view, I understand why he said it. But at the same time, when you’re President of the United States, you just have to be disciplined to make sure you do not make comments that ultimately have to be clarified by the White House, “Panetta added.
Panetta was mocked on social media for bringing up Biden’s heritage as a means to explain his gaffe.
PANETTA ON BIDEN’S REMARKS: ‘UP TO THE RUSSIANS WHO THEIR LEADER WILL BE‘
Washington Examiner executive editor Seth Mandel tweeted “Irish empathy strikes again.”
“New ‘epigenetic trauma is a mainstream smart person concept’ data point just dropped,” Washington Free Beacon reporter Joe Gabriel Simonson wrote.
New Republic associate editor Matt Ford joked “Our Irish-descent president simply cannot tame his reckless Celtic passions, claimed the former secretary of defense.”
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