President Joe Biden's speech in Poland was "very strong" despite his "ad-lib" comments about allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to remain in power, but still, such comments can play into Russia's propaganda, Sen. Rob Portman said Sunday.
"I think all of us believe the world would be a better place without Vladimir Putin," the Ohio Republican said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "[But] it plays into the hands of the Russian propagandists and plays into the hands of the Russian government. The president realizes that, and he has had to walk back on a couple of other comments as well. Clarity is incredibly important, and we need to make sure we are also clear with our NATO allies because that's how we're stronger."
Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted that the United States has no strategy of regime change for Russia after Biden said Saturday in his speech that Putin "cannot remain in power."
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has reportedly referred to Biden's comments as being just words, as his country needs weaponry, the program reported, and Portman said he agrees.
However, he said that Ukraine does need additional weapons that the United States is not yet providing, particularly anti-air systems and more munitions for the systems it already has.
"They're asking for more anti-ship systems which is really important right now because some of these missiles are coming from the Black Sea," said Portman. "They've asked for help across the board that is not yet there. That's what President Zelenskyy is talking about. We need to do more, we need to do it more quickly."
Meanwhile, Portman on Sunday called for a "red line" to be drawn if Russia uses chemical weapons against Ukraine, even if the United States did not honor that commitment in Syria.
"This time, we have to be darned sure that what we are doing will be backed up by us, by our NATO allies, and I do think that's a red line," said Portman, adding that the distinction should be drawn if there is any use of biological weapons.
Biden has said that the United States would respond in kind, he added, but later that was walked back.
"There are a number of military responses that I could see," he said. "One would be to establish a humanitarian air defense zone in parts of western Ukraine. And that could be done from outside of the borders of Ukraine."
The senator also discussed Supreme Court justice nominee Kentanji Brown Jackson's confirmation hearings and said he hasn't yet decided whether he'll back her approval.
"I said all along I'm going to wait until the Judiciary Committee is done with this action," he said. "I think they'll vote a week from Monday. Less than a year ago I voted against her for the Court of Appeals, and I did so because I'm concerned about her judicial philosophy."
Portman, meanwhile, said that he won't base his decision on Jackson on her sentencing record, which has come under fire.
Portman on Sunday also said he'll "respect" Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on what he decides about whether to recuse himself from cases after reports that have surfaced about text messages sent from his wife, Ginni Thomas to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
"I don't know if he'll have the specific issue come before him about those records," said Portman. "That might be one where he'll consider that. He has a lot of integrity, and I think he'll make that decision. I don't think what your spouse says should recuse you, whether it's in the legislative branch or the judicial branch."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.