White House disavows Graham’s call for Putin assassination

Mar 4, 2022, 2:23 PM | Updated: Mar 5, 2022, 11:09 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is facing intense pushback from all corners of Washington after calling for the Russian people to end the Ukraine war by assassinating President Vladimir Putin. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that it is “not the position of the United States government.”

Graham, a former Air Force lawyer and longtime defense hawk, tweeted Thursday evening that “the only people who can fix this” are Russians.

“The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out,” Graham tweeted. “You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service.”

The tweet drew swift pushback from some of the most conservative and liberal members of Congress. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz called it “an exceptionally bad idea.” Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican who was denounced this week for speaking at an event organized by a white nationalist, said Graham’s tweet was “irresponsible, dangerous & unhinged.” And Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat who has faced criticism over comments about Israel, tweeted: “Seriously, wtf?”

On Friday, Psaki dismissed Graham’s idea out of hand.

“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,” she said.

Graham’s comment comes at a fraught time for the White House, which is orchestrating a tough Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while trying to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia for fear of triggering a broader war. The Russian president’s raising of the alert level on his country’s nuclear weapons stirred fears that he may be willing to consider the unthinkable step of using them.

The U.S. has ruled out sending troops to Ukraine and hasn’t agreed to a no-fly zone over Ukraine that could lead to clashes with Russian warplanes.

With no letup in the war, the White House has asked Congress for $10 billion in emergency funding, with money going toward humanitarian aid and security needs. Approval could come as soon as next week. Lawmakers are also pushing the Biden administration to halt oil imports from Russia, a move that could tighten the vise on the country’s increasingly isolated economy.

But Graham is alone in encouraging attempts on Putin’s life. Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, called his comments “unacceptable and outrageous.”

Graham was unbowed in a Fox News appearance Friday morning, saying that the best way for the fighting to end is to have “an Eliot Ness or Wyatt Earp” in Russia, referring to fabled American law enforcement figures.

“I am convinced this is a one man problem surrounded by a few people,” Graham said.

Also Friday, Graham introduced a resolution with a bipartisan group of senators that calls for Putin to be held accountable for his actions in Ukraine, including investigations of war crimes.

Graham and his Senate colleagues will have an opportunity to talk to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy directly Saturday in a video call, according to a person familiar with the invitation from the Ukrainian embassy.

All senators are invited to the call, according to the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the private invitation. The meeting will be the first time U.S. lawmakers have talked to the Ukrainian president since Russia invaded his country.

___

Associated Press writer Nomaan Merchant contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

An icon lies in the debris of a church which was destroyed after Russian attack at the frontline in...
Associated Press

Ukraine: Shelling hits town near Russian-held nuclear plant

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — At least three Ukrainian civilians were killed and 23 others were wounded by Russian shelling in 24 hours, including an attack not far from a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant, the office of Ukraine’s president reported Tuesday. The Russians fired over 120 rockets from Grad multiple rocket launchers at the southern town […]
5 hours ago
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks via a video link, as his supporters raise their hand...
Associated Press

Hezbollah warns Israel over border dispute with Lebanon

BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group issued a warning Tuesday to archenemy Israel over the two countries’ maritime border dispute, saying that “any arm” that reaches to steal Lebanon’s wealth “will be cut off.” Hassan Nasrallah’s remarks came amid intensified U.S. efforts to resolve a more than a decade-old maritime border […]
5 hours ago
HOLD FOR STORY BY JEFF AMY EMBARGOED UNTIL 06:00 AM EST Aug. 9, 2020**Democratic candidate for Geor...
Associated Press

Abrams calls on using budget surplus to invest in Georgians

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is arguing that it’s time for Georgia to use its budget surplus to invest in its residents, accusing Gov. Brian Kemp and other Republicans of hurting the state by prioritizing low taxes and low spending. With the state flush with $7 billion in extra funds, Abrams […]
5 hours ago
FLE - Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin, left, speaks with Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas ...
Associated Press

Estonia, Finland want Europe to end Russian tourist visas

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The leaders of Estonia and Finland want fellow European countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens, saying they should not be able to take vacations in Europe while the government of Russia carries out a war in Ukraine. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas wrote Tuesday on Twitter that “visiting […]
5 hours ago
This photo shows Issey Miyake at the National Art Center in Tokyo on March 15, 2016. Miyake, who bu...
Associated Press

Famed Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake dies at 84

TOKYO (AP) — Issey Miyake, who built one of Japan’s biggest fashion brands and was known for his boldly sculpted pleated pieces as well as former Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ black turtlenecks, has died. He was 84. Miyake died Aug. 5 of liver cancer, Miyake Design Office said Tuesday. Miyake defined an era in Japan’s […]
5 hours ago
President Joe Biden with first lady Jill Biden waves as they walk on the South Lawn of the White Ho...
Associated Press

Biden to sign $280B CHIPS act in bid to boost US over China

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is preparing to sign a $280 billion bipartisan bill to boost domestic high-tech manufacturing, part of his administration’s push to boost U.S. competitiveness over China. The Rose Garden ceremony on Tuesday will include lawmakers, union officials, local politicians and business leaders, the White House said, as the president looks […]
5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
White House disavows Graham’s call for Putin assassination