CNN's Don Lemon defends Biden over Putin 'cannot remain in power' remark uproar: A 'media-manufactured story'

The anchor is urging others not to 'blow this out of proportion' and they should 'ease off' Biden

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CNN anchor Don Lemon went to bat for President Biden over his impromptu remark declaring that Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power."

Biden made international headlines from his speech in Warsaw, Poland on Saturday when he suggested that the Russian dictator must be removed from office. 

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The White House quickly walked back his comments, stating, "The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change."

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event at the Royal Castle, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Warsaw, Poland March 26, 2022. Slawomir Kaminski /Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event at the Royal Castle, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Warsaw, Poland March 26, 2022. Slawomir Kaminski /Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS

Lemon, who was reporting on the ground in war-torn Ukraine, shared his "interpretation" of Biden's comment during Monday's coverage of the ongoing invasion. 

"The President is saying exactly what most of the world feels about Vladimir Putin," Lemon said. "Now, he did not in that speech saying that Vladimir Putin should be removed or we're going to take him out of power. He said, ‘This man should not remain in power.’ What person in the right mind thinks that someone who bombs innocent people, children, a country that is in unprovoked war should remain in power?"

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"Quite honestly, I think this is a media-manufactured story," Lemon told CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota.  

The primetime anchor asserted "every single person I've spoken to in this region feels the way that Joe Biden feels" about the Russian leader. 

CNN anchor Don Lemon.

CNN anchor Don Lemon. (Getty Images/Theo Wargo)

"So we have to understand the moment that we're in now. And I think we should ease off a little bit because that's not what the president said," Lemon later continued. He did not say regime change. I think that was the interpretation… Perhaps the president should be a little more precise with his language. I will give him that. But I think to blow this out of proportion, to say that, you know, the president was doing some sort of thing about making regime change, I just think it's out of proportion to what is going on. We're in the middle of a war and by a man who is killing innocent people… Who would think that he should be in power at this moment?" 

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"So I think that we need to take a step back and stop trying to make it into something that it is not… This is what people want to hear from the president. This is the stance that the people of America, especially in the people of Ukraine, want the leader of the free world to have, to be strong and to say exactly what Vladimir Putin should not be doing, someone who kills innocent people- it is common sense, should not be in power. It is as simple as that," he added. 

President Biden has made a string of remarks which would later be walked back by the White House, including comments he made to American troops stationed in Poland suggesting they would be going into Ukraine and that the U.S. would retaliate in response to a Russian chemical attack on Ukraine with chemical weapons.