OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
CNN host Jake Tapper is demanding answers as to what President Joe Biden is talking about after the White House had to walk back comments he made about being close to “nuclear Armageddon.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is… underperforming,” he said at a fundraiser in NYC, Wall Street Journal reporter Tarini Parti said.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” he said.
But the White House walked back the comments when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that “we are looking very carefully to see if Russia is actually doing anything that suggests that they are contemplating the use of nuclear weapons. To date, we’ve not seen them take these actions.”
“This kind of loose talk about nuclear weapons is the height of irresponsibility and it’s something that we take very seriously,” he said.
On Sunday, Tapper confronted Democrat Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy about the comments and the walk back.
“So what’s President Biden talking about?” the host said to the senator who is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Do you see Armageddon as a real possibility?”
“I think the president is right to raise the risk of nuclear conflict because Vladimir Putin is increasingly getting pushed into a corner,” the senator said. “This war is going incredibly badly for him, the mobilization that he’s undertaken has backfired.”
“This is a dangerous man,” he said. “The United States has to be ready for Putin to use a tactical nuclear weapon.”
But he did agree that there is no imminent suggestion that Putin was on the brink of using nuclear weapons.
“I don’t think there’s any sign that he is going to do that imminently,” he said. “It’s important for us to send signals about what the consequences would be should he make that choice. I think Joe Biden is right, to get this country ready for the fact that you’re dealing with an incredibly dangerous human being in Russia, the war is going badly, and you just can’t predict what he’s going to do next.”
The host said that “someone who has ties to the Ukrainian government expressed concern to me that president Biden might be playing into Putin’s hands by escalating the rhetoric.”
“This war can end if Vladimir Putin decides to get his troops and personnel out of Ukraine,” the senator said. “He made a decision to invade a sovereign neighboring country. The blood today and tomorrow is on his hands. I think the president has made the right call to be very clear with Putin about what we’re going to do and what we’re not going to do.
“I don’t want to get into a world in which we start blaming ourselves for escalation. This is Putin’s war. And it’s his decision whether it ends,” he said.
“Do you see Armageddon as a real possibility?”
CNN’s @jaketapper discusses President Joe Biden’s warning about the potential for a nuclear threat from Russia with Senator @ChrisMurphyCT (D) and how Cabinet officials are responding. @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/TLtnk2n791
— CNN (@CNN) October 9, 2022
It has not been a stellar week for President Biden and foreign policy.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State Adel al-Jubeir spoke to Fox News and said it is the lack of domestic production in the United States that has led to high gas prices.
“With due respect, the reason you have high prices in the United States is because you have a refining shortage that has been in existence for more than 20 years. You haven’t built refineries in decades,” he said.
“Oil is not a weapon. It’s not a fighter plane. It’s not a tank. You can’t shoot it. You can’t do anything with it. We look at oil as a commodity and we look at oil as important to the global economy in which we have a huge stake. The idea that Saudi Arabia would do this to harm the U.S. or to be in any way politically involved is absolutely not correct at all,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about the OPEC decision this week and said it was “shortsighted.”
“Yeah. All right, so based off what OPEC has proposed, two questions. One, does the U.S. view Saudis as a trustworthy partner? And two, would a production cut in oil help Putin because it would raise prices, possibly?” the reporter said.
“So there was a statement on the OPEC decision that went out while we were all in the air. It came out from Jake Sullivan and Brian Deese. So I just wanted to make sure that you guys are all aware of that,” the press secretary responded.
“So let me just say a couple of things and just kind of lift up some of the things that came up from that — from — came out of that statement.
“So OPEC’s decision to cut productions quotas is shortsighted while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” she said.