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Tipsheet

GOP Lawmakers Rip Lindsey Graham's Suggestion to Assassinate Putin

Anna Moneymaker/New York Times, Pool via AP

Some Republicans are criticizing South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) over his recent comments calling for the assassination of Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

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"Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military? The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out. You would be doing your country — and the world — a great service," Graham said Thursday in a Twitter thread.

"The only people who can fix this are the Russian people. Easy to say, hard to do," he continued. "Unless you want to live in darkness for the rest of your life, be isolated from the rest of the world in abject poverty, and live in darkness you need to step up to the plate."

The senator's comments were slammed online, including by some of his GOP colleagues on Capitol Hill.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) said in a tweet that Graham's suggestion is an "exceptionally bad idea," proposing instead that the U.S. should "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," Cruz said.

Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene responded to Graham's tweet by saying it was an "irresponsible" and "dangerous" idea.

"While we are all praying for peace & for the people of Ukraine, this is irresponsible, dangerous & unhinged," Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said in a tweet. "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."

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Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida sarcastically responded to Graham, "When has Sen. Graham encouraging regime change ever ended badly?"

And Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie called Graham's assassination suggestion "insane" during a Thursday night appearance on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle."

The White House explained Friday that Graham's remarks do not reflect the position of the U.S. government.

"That is not the position of the United States government and certainly not a statement you'd hear come from the mouth of anybody in this administration," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing, adding that "we are not advocating for killing the leader of a foreign country or regime change. That is not the policy of the United States."

Doubling down on his tweet, Graham said during a Friday appearance on "Fox and Friends" that the Russian people "are not our enemy. I'm convinced it's a one-man problem surrounded by a few people."

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