During an interview with CNN aired on Tuesday’s edition of “CNN Tonight,” President Joe Biden said that he doesn’t think Vladimir Putin will actually deploy a nuclear weapon, and no “rational person” thinks using a nuke “does not have the prospect of leading to something that could be way out of control.” But he believes it’s “irresponsible for him to talk about it.” And the point he was making is that using a nuclear weapon could lead to horrific outcomes.
Host Jake Tapper asked, “You recently said that this is the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis that there’s a legitimate possibility of someone using a nuclear weapon, which could lead to ‘Armageddon,’ that’s the word you used. How realistic is it, do you think, that Putin would use a tactical nuclear weapon?”
Biden responded, “I don’t think he will, but I think it’s irresponsible for him to talk about it. The idea that a world leader of one of the largest nuclear powers in the world says he may use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, the whole point I was making was it could lead to just a horrible outcome, and not because anybody intends to turn it into a world war or anything, but you just — once you use a nuclear weapon, the mistakes that could be made, the miscalculations, who knows what would happen.”
Biden also stated, “I’m talking to Putin. He, in fact, cannot continue, with impunity, to talk about the use of a tactical nuclear weapon as if that’s a rational thing to do. The mistakes get made and the miscalculation could occur. No one can be sure what would happen and it could end in Armageddon.”
Tapper then asked, “And you still are afraid of that, though, that it could?”
Biden answered, “Well, no. I don’t think anyone — any rational person is saying that the initial use of…a nuclear weapon, killing thousands of people, does not have the prospect of leading to something that could be way out of control.”
In another portion of the interview, Biden said he thinks Putin is a rational actor.
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