Lindsey Graham Tweeted Someone Should Assassinate Putin. It Didn’t Go Well.

“Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?"
lindsey-graham-putin-assassination-tweet
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, waits to speak to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested that someone in Russian leadership should pull an Ides of March on Vladimir Putin. And his colleagues across the political spectrum, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ilhan Omar and Sen. Ted Cruz, were quick to pillory him. 

Even UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson thought an assassination attempt would be a bad idea.

Graham, a longtime hawk on Russia relations, tweeted Thursday asking if there was a “Brutus in Russia” or a “more successful Colonel [Claus von] Stauffenberg.” 

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The former is a reference to the Roman friend and ally of Julius Caesar who later betrayed him, and the latter to a German officer who led a failed assassination plot against Adolf Hitler in 1944 and was subsequently executed. 

Graham made the comments after Russian forces laid siege to a nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which they later captured. The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine called the attack a “war crime” Thursday. 

“The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out,” Graham tweeted. “You would be doing your country—and the world—a great service.”

A Twitter spokesperson told VICE News that Graham’s tweet was “currently not in violation of the Twitter Rules.” The tweet has been up for more than 12 hours as of this writing. 

Greene called Graham’s tweet “irresponsible, dangerous, and unhinged.” 

“We need leaders with calm minds and steady wisdom,” Greene, whose personal account was banned from Twitter for COVID-19 misinformation, said in her tweet. “Not bloodthirsty warmongering politicians trying to tweet tough by demanding assassinations. Americans don’t want war.”

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Omar, a member of the progressive Squad routinely targeted by Greene and the far-right, said in her own tweet: “Seriously, wtf?” 

“I really wish our members of Congress would cool it and regulate their remarks as the administration works to avoid WWlll,” Omar said. 

“This is an exceptionally bad idea,” Sen. Cruz added in his own tweet. While the U.S. should sanction Russia and provide military aid to Ukraine, the Texas Republican said, “we should not be calling for the assassination of heads of state.”

Johnson, who has reportedly been the target of fake Russian troll rumors about his own assassination by Brits frustrated with Brexit, took the high road.

Asked if Johnson backed Graham’s call, a spokesman for the prime minister  told The Independent: “No. We stand with the Ukrainian people in demanding the immediate end to the Russian invasion.” The spokesman added that “Putin must be held to account before an international court for the horrific acts he has committed.”

Graham introduced a Senate resolution earlier this week supporting Ukrainian efforts to try Putin and other Russian leaders as war criminals before the International Criminal Court. He called the ICC “a venue to bring bad actors to justice in those areas where the Rule of Law is absent as they did in the Balkan War during the 1990s” in a statement. 

While Graham thinks Putin is fair game for a trial at the Hague, it’s worth noting that the U.S. under Trump, whom Graham aligned himself with, tried to kneecap the ICC’s powers and even went so far as to sanction two top ICC prosecutors for attempting to investigate war crimes potentially committed by the U.S. (The Biden administration lifted those sanctions last April.) 

“I can only imagine what would have changed if in the 1930s the world had spoken forcefully to condemn Hitler for his atrocities within Germany and surrounding areas,” Graham said in a statement Wednesday. “We have a chance to chart a new path with this resolution.”

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