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Claytoonz: One scoop, two scoops, three scoops, Vlad scoops

The White House may not admit it, but you know you kinda messed up when you have to clarify the president’s statements the day after. The Trump White House had to do it on a near-daily basis. Remember when they had to tell us the president (sic) was NOT endorsing drinking bleach or cramming light bulbs up your ass to cure COVID? Good times.

But, yes. President Biden messed up. First, he shouldn’t have given a two-hour press conference. Anyone who speaks for two hours is gonna screw something up.

Republicans jumped on the speech before they knew what to gripe about. They always accuse Biden of being mentally impaired and that his speeches are incoherent rambles…but they must not be listening to the same speeches we are. It’s ridiculous to have to point out that Biden is clear and informed on the issues. Also, these people supported the guy who talked about invisible airplanes, didn’t understand the nuclear triad, had just learned Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, thought Frederick Douglass was still alive and being “recognized more and more,” believes Second Corinthians is “Two Corinthians,” couldn’t pronounce “Yosemite,” “Thailand,” “Nevada,” “Kamala Harris,” and every time he said “China,” it would come out more like “vagina.” I saw one critic complain that Biden did his press conference during the day and not at night when all other presidents would conduct press conferences. That’s not even close to being true but if it was, so what? When someone complains about stuff like that, it means they don’t have anything to criticize. It’s like Biden and ice cream.

I’ve seen a lot of conservative cartoonists include ice cream in their Biden cartoons like that’s a bad thing? It’s like they don’t remember President Hamburglar. My use of ice cream here isn’t a criticism of Biden liking ice cream. In fact, I challenge that he likes ice cream more than I do. God, I love ice cream. But anyway, he kinda messed up.

During the president’s two-hour press conference, he answered a question on Russia invading Ukraine with, “What you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades and it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, etc.”

A lot of people freaked out including the president of Ukraine. They felt he was giving Russia permission to commit an “incursion” but not to “invade.” And honestly, that could be exactly how Russia would take it. But it’s clear he was talking about there being different reactions to how much Russia does, it’s probably just not good to say that.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted, “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations, just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.” Ukraine is a very important nation but I don’t know about the “great power” part of that.

The day after Biden’s stumble, he clarified his statements. The President said, “If any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion. Let there be no doubt if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.” Except, he said “assembled” Russian units. What if there is encroachment into Ukraine by unassembled Russian units? I’m shocked Republicans aren’t screaming about this detail.

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The worry and quibbling over Biden’s speech are based on the concern that NATO countries may not (they won’t) agree on a response if Russia invades Ukraine. There is a lot of trade between western Europe and Russia, specifically oil. Have you seen oil prices lately? While the United States may call for strong sanctions on Russian oil, Germany might just call for a sanction on Russian nesting dolls. Yeah, that’ll hurt ’em. Grrrr, and there’s more where that came from. There hasn’t even been a sanction on Russian vodka.

The truth is, the only help coming to Ukraine if Russia invades are military supplies and sanctions. Nobody’s going to help Ukraine fight a war against Russia. After Ukraine became an independent nation again after the breakup of the Soviet Union, it became a puppet to Russia. And like Russia, it was a phony democracy. Only after it became a true democracy did Putin start his “incursions.” He invaded and took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Most sanctions from the west for the Ukraine “annexation” have been against individuals, not against the Russian nation itself. Most Russians who were sanctioned said it was a “badge of honor.” So, what sort of sanctions will there be if Putin invades Ukraine? Will there be some actual harsh sanctions?

In the U.S, Republicans and Trumpers support Putin and Russia. White nationalists love Vladimir Putin. He’s their guy. They love Putin as much as I love ice cream…maybe even more.

When it comes to Ukraine, I don’t think it matters what President Biden says or how he says it. Putin will take as many scoops as he wants.

Music Note: While drawing this cartoon, I listened to Jefferson Airplane, and then I listened to Jefferson Starship, but I didn’t listen to Starship.

Clay Jones is the 2022 recipient of the RFK Human Rights Journalism Award in Editorial Cartooning. He was a finalist for the Herblock Prize in 2019 and a finalist for the National Headliner Award in 2020. See more award-winning editorial cartoons from him at Claytoonz.com.

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