“‘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.’”
Those were the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham saying the quiet part out loud on Thursday night and suggesting in not-so-subtle terms that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be assassinated. Brutus, of course, was one of Julius Caesar’s assassins, and Stauffenberg led a failed plot to kill Hitler during World War II.
“The only people who can fix this are the Russian people,” Graham said in a follow-up tweet. “Easy to say, hard to do. 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.”
Graham made the comments during a Fox News interview Thursday night as Russian troops attacked a Ukrainian nuclear power plant, then repeated them on Twitter. In yet another Fox News appearance, Graham, a former U.S. Air Force staff judge advocate, suggested that Putin should be arrested.
Graham has been a longtime critic of Putin, and on Wednesday introduced a Senate resolution to support a U.N. investigation into Putin’s “crimes against humanity and war crimes against the people of Ukraine and others.”
“What I hope will happen here is that the world, not just the American people, will make a case against Putin that’s been made for 20 years. He’s literally jailed opponents in Russia, poisoned people, carpet-bombed Aleppo, Syria and Idlib, and Chechnya and nothing happened. Enough is enough,” Graham told CBS News on Thursday.
It should be noted that the U.S. prohibits anyone in the government from engaging or conspiring to engage in the assassination of foreign leaders, through an executive order signed by President Gerald Ford in 1976.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that it is not the policy of the Biden administration that Putin or the leader of any foreign country should be assassinated. She also said the U.S. government is not advocating regime change in Moscow.