Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said on Monday that President Joe Biden’s apparently declining mental faculties present a “national security risk” that could see the US dragged into a war with Russia. Biden earlier appeared to call for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s removal from power, before walking back the statement, then making it again.
“A lot of times when you’re around somebody who’s in cognitive decline, you find yourself trying to help them with a sentence, trying to help them complete it,” Paul told Fox News host Jesse Watters on Monday evening, adding that “we shouldn’t have to do that for the commander-in-chief.”
Earlier on Monday, Biden told reporters that he “was not articulating a change in policy” when he called Putin a “butcher” who “cannot remain in power” during a visit to Poland over the weekend. Despite assuring the press that he wasn’t demanding regime change in Moscow, Biden then said again that Putin “shouldn’t be in power.”
Biden read from pre-prepared cue cards during the press conference.
“It is actually a national security risk because he’s sending signals that no one in their right mind would want to send to Russia at this point,” Paul continued. “We aren’t trying to replace Putin in Russia. We aren’t trying to have regime change. We’re not sending troops into Ukraine, and we’re not going to respond in kind with chemical weapons,” he stated, referring to two other statements that Biden made and the White House walked back.
These statements involved Biden seemingly telling US soldiers that they would be deployed to Ukraine, and that the US would “respond in kind” to a hypothetical Russian use of chemical weapons on the battlefield. Both actions would result in open war between the US and Russia, something that Biden has repeatedly said he wished to avoid.
“So I do think that it is a real problem, and there’s a humorous angle to this,” Paul said. “But it’s really not funny because we’re worried about what he’s saying, precipitating or escalating the conflict in Ukraine into a world war. That’s very serious.”
While Paul has condemned Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine, the Kentucky Republican opposes any US involvement in the conflict. Prior to Russia’s attack, Paul insisted that Ukraine “should not and cannot be our problem to solve,” and that the country’s accession into the NATO alliance – which the US and her allies insist is its right – would be “a recipe for war and disaster.”
Paul’s plea for temperance echoes that of French President Emmanuel Macron, who said on Sunday that he “wouldn’t use such words” to describe Putin, and that his main goal regarding Ukraine is “achieving first a ceasefire and then the total withdrawal of [Russian] troops by diplomatic means.”
“If we want to do that, we can’t escalate, either in words or actions,” Macron told the broadcaster France 3.