Ted Cruz, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene Among Lawmakers Condemning Graham’s Call for Russian to ‘Take Out’ Putin

By Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester
Nathan Worcester is an environmental reporter at The Epoch Times. He can be reached at nathan.worcester@epochtimes.us. Follow Nathan on Twitter @nnworcester
March 4, 2022 Updated: March 6, 2022

U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Congress are criticizing Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) tweet suggesting that someone in Russia should assassinate the country’s president, Vladimir Putin.

“Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?” Graham said in a March 3 tweet. “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.”

Marcus Junius Brutus was one of the conspirators who assassinated Julius Caesar on the Ides of March (March 15) in 44 B.C., while Claus von Stauffenberg led an unsuccessful secret plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944.

“This is an exceptionally bad idea. 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,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote on Twitter in response to Graham. When asked for additional comments about what Graham said, a spokesperson for Cruz directed The Epoch Times to Cruz’s original tweet.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) wrote on Twitter: “While we are all praying for peace & for the people of Ukraine, this is irresponsible, dangerous & unhinged. We need leaders with calm minds & steady wisdom. Not bloodthirsty warmongering politicians trying to tweet tough by demanding assassinations. Americans don’t want war.”

Greene’s fellow House Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), also responded via Twitter: “When has Sen. Graham encouraging regime change ever ended badly?”

Graham was a leading advocate of the war in Iraq.

In a March 4 tweet, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) wrote, “Senator Graham’s assassination tweet is insane.”

Spokespersons for Greene and Massie told The Epoch Times that neither representative had additional comments. The Epoch Times has reached out to Gaetz for comment.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) wrote two tweets on March 4 rejecting Graham’s rhetoric: “Seriously … ? I really wish our members of Congress would cool it and regulate their remarks as the administration works to avoid WWIII.”

Omar’s office didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for further comment.

“They are entitled to their opinion,” Graham said in a message to The Epoch Times.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who all serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, didn’t respond by press time to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, described Graham’s suggestion as “irresponsible and dangerous.”

Graham posted the comment after The Washington Post reported that the Chechens and the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group have tried to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in recent days. Ukrainian officials said Russian spies alerted them to the plots.

Clint Ehrlich, a lawyer and foreign policy analyst, also reacted to Graham’s remarks.

“Whether it would be moral for someone to kill Vladimir Putin is irrelevant, because having a sitting U.S. senator publicly call for his death endangers global stability. If, God forbid, there is an attempted coup inside Russia, the Russians will now be able to credibly point the finger at the United States. We could be looking at a world war,” Ehrlich said in a message to The Epoch Times.

“People in the West think Vladimir Putin is a terrifying leader, especially after his decision to invade Ukraine. But if he’s killed in office, whoever replaces him would be a hundred times more dangerous. The Russian people would want revenge, and their new leader—a new Stalin figure—would have to give it to them merely to stay in power.

“If America were involved in the operation to take Putin’s life, it’s conceivable that the Russian state would retaliate by killing the President of the United States.”

Other expert commentators on foreign affairs, including University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer, Stanford professor and former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, Brookings Institute senior fellow Robert Kagan, and Air War College ethics professor Daniel Strand didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

As of press time, Graham’s tweet is still visible.

Nathan Worcester is an environmental reporter at The Epoch Times. He can be reached at nathan.worcester@epochtimes.us. Follow Nathan on Twitter @nnworcester