US lawmakers react to call for Putin assassination
American lawmakers from across the political spectrum have criticized US Senator Lindsey Graham’s comments as dangerous and unhinged, after he claimed “the only way” to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was to kill President Vladimir Putin.
On Thursday, Graham invoked the assassination of Roman dictator Julius Caesar and the botched plot to kill Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler as examples of what should be done, in his opinion. On Friday he doubled down on his threatening rhetoric, telling Fox News that Russians must “rise up and take [Putin] down.”
“This is an exceptionally bad idea,” Texas Senator Ted Cruz wrote on Twitter. “Use massive economic sanctions; BOYCOTT Russian oil & gas; and provide military aid so the Ukrainians can defend themselves.”
But we should not be calling for the assassination of heads of state.
“Seriously, wtf?” Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) wrote on Twitter. “I really wish our members of Congress would cool it and regulate their remarks as the administration works to avoid WWlll.”
As the world pays attention to how the US and its leaders are responding, Lindsey’s remarks, and remarks made by some House members, aren’t helpful.
“While we are all praying for peace & for the people of Ukraine, this is irresponsible, dangerous & unhinged,” tweeted Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
We need leaders with calm minds & steady wisdom. Not blood thirsty warmongering politicians trying to tweet tough by demanding assassinations. Americans don’t want war.
“When has Sen. Graham encouraging regime change ever ended badly?” Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted.
The White House also distanced itself from Graham’s statements, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying on Friday “that is not the position of the United States government and certainly not a statement you'd hear come from the mouth of anybody working in this administration.”
We are not advocating for killing the leader of a foreign country or regime change. That is not the policy of the United States.
The open call for the assassination of the Russian president provoked fury in Moscow, with Russia’s Embassy in the US strongly condemning such statements, as well as demanding that Washington hold the official accountable for his remarks.
“It is unbelievable that a senator from a country that preaches its moral values as a ‘guiding light’ for all of mankind could allow himself [a] call for terrorism as a means to achieve Washington’s goals on the international stage,” said Russia’s ambassador in the US, Anatoly Antonov.
Graham has been driven crazy by the ongoing tensions between Moscow and the West, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov implied, saying “not everyone can remain cool-headed these days, some [people] lose their senses.”
Moscow maintains its military offensive in Ukraine is a “special operation” aimed at the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of the nation in the name of protecting the people of the two Donbass republics, which Russia recently recognized.
Kiev said the attack was unprovoked, insisting it had not been seeking to retake Donetsk and Lugansk by force. The two republics split from Kiev back in 2014 in the aftermath of the Maidan coup, which ousted Ukraine’s government.