‘These days, not everyone manages to maintain sobriety, I would even say sanity,’ the Kremlin’s spokesman said
På torsdag, Mr Graham wrote a tweet asking if there was a “Brutus in Russland” – referring to one of the assassins of Julius Caesar – or for a “more successful Colonel Stauffenberg,” recalling the German soldier who tried kill Adolf Hitler.
“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,” Mr Graham wrote.
“The only people who can fix this are the Russian people. Easy to say, hard to do,” han skrev. “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.”
Despite the global vitriol toward Mr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine and subsequent threats to use nuclear weapons if he’s challenged, Mr Graham’s call for a head of state to be assassinated sparked condemnation on social media and later from the Kremlin.
A spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitri Peskov, lashed out at Mr Graham following the comments, suggesting the senator was suffering from insanity – or intoxication.
“dessverre, in such an extremely tense atmosphere, there is a hysterical escalation of Russophobia,” Peskov responded. “Disse dager, not everyone manages to maintain sobriety, I would even say sanity, and many lose their mind,” han sa.
Mr Graham doubled down on his comments Friday during an appearance on Fox and Friends.
“I’m hoping someone in Russia will understand he is destroying Russia and you need to take this guy out back any means possible,” han sa.
He continued to lean on tenuous historical examples, calling for Russia to produce an “Eliot Ness or a Wyatt Earp” – both famous American lawmen – to deal with Mr Putin.
Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said Mr Graham’s remarks were “unacceptable and outrageous. Norman Eisen, a former US ambassador to the Czech Republic, chastised the senator for giving Russian media a free talking point to escalate tensions with the US.
“Are you TRYING to cause escalation?” han skrev. “Now Putin can say ‘one of the most senior U.S. Senators has called for my assassination.’ Why would you want to help him? This war is causing some who know better to lose their minds.”
During Mr Graham’s appearance on Fox and Friends, he did seem to walk his comments back somewhat, saying Mr Putin needed to “go to jail” when asked to respond to Mr Antonov’s comments.