President Joe Biden on Tuesday seemed to accuse Vladimir Putin of committing ‘genocide’ in the Ukraine after his administration officials have been careful not to use that word.
‘Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank – none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide a half a world away,’ Biden said during a speech in Iowa on combatting high inflation, which he blamed on Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine.
On April 4, shortly after pictures of atrocities appeared in Bucha, Ukraine, Biden refused to call it a genocide, instead using the term ‘war crimes’ and saying Putin should be put on trial.
‘He is a war criminal,’ Biden said at the time. ‘But we have to gather the information. We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue to fight and we have to get all the detail so this could be – actual have a war crimes trial. This guy is brutal and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone’s seen it.’
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky called the Russian actions ‘genocide’ during his visit to Bucha to see the mass graves and bodies in the streets.
‘This is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people,’ Zelensky said.
Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 410 civilians, many with bound hands and close-range gunshot wounds, were recovered from towns surrounding Kyiv after the withdrawal of Russian troops.
Biden administration officials also said it was a war crime.
‘It’s not just that we sit around and debate terms and ultimately decide to apply a turn based against static circumstances,’ National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in early April when asked how the administration made such a determination.
‘We watch as things unfold we gather evidence, we continue to develop facts. And as we gathered evidence, and as we got the facts together, we ultimately came to the conclusion that war crimes were committed,’ he added.
President Joe Biden accused Vladimir Putin of committing ‘genocide’ in the Ukraine afer his administration officials have been careful not to use that word
Dead bodies litter the streets near Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, after Russian forces withdrew from the region in early April
A visibly emotional Volodymyr Zelensky stood motionless as he surveyed the scene in Bucha, with dozens of bodies shot at close range laying on the empty streets
Biden was in Iowa to the high inflation crippling consumers and kick off an administration-wide tour touting the infrastructure benefits coming to rural communities.
His visit came the same day inflation in the United States hit a 41-year high of 8.5 percent, as soaring gasoline, food and housing costs slam consumers in the pocket books.
In his remarks, Biden, as he and his staff have done many times in the past, blamed the record high prices for food and fuel on Putin and his invasion of the Ukraine.
‘His invasion of Ukraine has driven up gas prices and food prices all over the world,’ Biden said of the Russian president, calling the high prices the ‘Putin price hike.’
‘We saw today’s inflation data 70% of the increase in prices in March came from Putin’s price hike in gasoline,’ he said.
The latest data showed the price of basic necessities rising sharply, with groceries up 10 percent from a year ago, rent rising 4.4 percent, clothing up 6.8 percent, and energy costs rising 32 percent.
Inflation has become a top political threat to Biden and congressional Democrats as the crucial November midterm elections draw closer. Small business owners now say in surveys that it’s their primary economic concern, too.
Biden made his remarks surrounded by tractors and a large pile of corn
President Joe Biden nspeaks with Congresswoman Cindy Axne and Jack Mitchell, Regional Vice President, POET Bioprocessing, tour the plant
Local residents react as President Joe Biden arrives at the POET Bioprocessing facility in Iowa
The motorcade carrying President Joe Biden arrives at POET Bioprocessing
Biden’s approval ratings have tanked, in large part because of voters’ unhappiness with the economy.
As part of the fight against inflation, on his visit Biden announced he’ll suspend a federal rule preventing the sale of higher ethanol blend gasoline this summer, as his administration tries to bring down prices at the pump.
Most gasoline is blended with 10% ethanol. The Environmental Protection Agency will issue an emergency waiver to allow widespread sale of 15% ethanol blend that is usually prohibited between June 1 and Sept. 15 because of concerns that it adds to smog in high temperatures.
Biden announced the move at a biofuel company in Menlo, west of Des Moines. Iowa is the country’s largest producer of corn, key to producing ethanol. He toured the plant with Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne.
The White House argues the move will save drivers an average of 10 cents per gallon throughout the Midwest and the South.
‘For working families – families eager to travel and visit their loved ones – that will add up to real savings,’ according to a fact sheet released by the White House.
Even before Russia’s war further spurred price increases, robust consumer spending, steady pay raises and chronic supply shortages had sent U.S. consumer inflation to its highest level in four decades.
In addition, housing costs, which make up about a third of the consumer price index, have escalated, a trend that seems unlikely to reverse anytime soon as landlords try to claw back losses sustained during the pandemic.
Gas prices did soar in March in response to Russia’s invasion, contributing significantly to last month’s inflation rate.
According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gasoline on Tuesday – $4.10 – is up 43 percent from a year ago, though it has fallen off record highs in the past couple of weeks.
The March inflation numbers are the first the capture the full surge in gasoline prices that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
President Joe Biden heads to Iowa, where he addressed the high inflation crippling consumers and kicked off an administration-wide tour touting the infrastructure benefits coming to rural communities
The consumer price index increased 8.5% in March from a year ago, a 41-year high
The trip to Iowa was Biden’s first as president. During the 2020 presidential, his campaign had a fourth-place finish in the first-in-the-nation caucuses, which suffered some technical glitches. Donald Trump won the state by 8 points in the presidential election.
Additionally, the administration will spend the coming weeks pushing billions of dollars in funding for rural areas.
Cabinet members and other senior officials will travel the country to help communities get access to money available as part of the bipartisan infrastructure law.
‘Meembers of my administration will be visiting rural America in over 25 states over the next three weeks to talk about how we can do even more great jobs and opportunity to make sure that investments we’re making reach rural communities,’ Biden said.
The White House said the trips are not about politics.
‘The president is not making this trip through a political prism,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday. ‘He’s making this trip because Iowa is a rural state in the country that would benefit greatly from the president’s policies.’
Biden will visit Greensboro, North Carolina, on Thursday.