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he's irish

Biden's Irish heritage was a factor in his weekend remarks about Putin, ex-US Defence Sec says

At the weekend, Biden remarked that the Russian President “cannot remain in power”.

A FORMER US Secretary of Defence has suggested that ‘compassion’ arising from President Joe Biden’s Irish heritage was the cause of comments about Putin’s future as the leader of Russia.

At the weekend, Biden remarked that the Russian President “cannot remain in power”.

The White House sought to pull back from the statement, which diverted from its official position, saying that Biden was not advocating for “regime change” in Russia.

Former US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, who held the role during Obama’s presidency, said today that Biden is “Irish” and “has a great deal of compassion when he sees that people are suffering”.

Asked on CNN why he thought Biden made that comment about Putin, Panetta said: “I happen to think that Joe Biden, you know, he’s Irish, he really has a great deal of compassion when he sees that people are suffering.”

“I think it overwhelmed him in the sense of seeing all of the horrors that were resulting from this war,” he said.

“From a personal point of view, I understand why he said it, but at the same time, when you’re president of the United States, you have to be disciplined to make sure you don’t make comments that ultimately have to be clarified by the White House.”

Biden made his comments about Putin’s future while on a visit to Warsaw in Poland, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees have fled.

He later told reporters at the White House: “I’m not walking anything back… I want to make it clear, I wasn’t then, nor am I now, articulating a policy change. I was expressing moral outrage that I feel — I make no apologies for my personal feelings”.

Biden has often drawn on his Irish roots in his political career, cementing it as part of his persona as a public figure.

He has discussed stories of his maternal great-great-grandfather Patrick Blewitt from Mayo, who emigrated to the US, and another great-great-grandfather Owen Finnegan who came from Louth.

On his father’s side, which is less discussed, his ancestry is English, French and Irish.

Additional reporting by AFP

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