China Hits Lindsey Graham for Fueling Nuclear War With Putin Comment

A Chinese media outlet criticized Senator Lindsey Graham this week for saying the world needs to "take out" Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of making a comment that could lead to a nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

On Thursday, Graham asked on Twitter if there was a "Brutus in Russia," and said the "only way" for Russia's war with Ukraine to end is for "somebody in Russia to take this guy out." It prompted a flurry of criticism, which China seized on to lob attacks at the senator, the Republican Party and the White House.

In an op-ed for the state-run Global Times on Sunday, the editorial board wrote that Graham's comment could "easily translate into actual action plans." The editorial board called any action against Putin "very dangerous" and warned about the fallout from an attempt on his life.

"The U.S. and Russia are both major nuclear powers. Any miscalculation that leads to war would be devastating to the world," the editorial board wrote.

Deteriorating relations with the United States have pushed China and Russia closer and Beijing appears to be walking a fine line on the conflict with Ukraine. China isn't backing Putin in his invasion of Ukraine, but officials haven't condemned it, either. For the most part, China has called for both sides to resolve the issue and for the rest of the world to stay out of the conflict.

Along with directly criticizing Graham, the Global Times said the comment indicated that some U.S. lawmakers, "especially the far right from the Republican Party, tend to have a kind of latent Nazism and terrorism."

lindsey graham global times china putin
The Global Times, a Chinese state-run media outlet, accused Senator Lindsey Graham of stoking the fires of nuclear war with his call for Russians to "take out" Russian President Vladimir Putin. Graham speaks on southern border security and illegal immigration, during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 30 in Washington, D.C. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Even Republicans were critical of Graham's tweet and Senator Ted Cruz called killing Putin an "exceptionally bad idea." Instead, he pushed for the world to issue "massive economic sanctions," boycott Russian oil and provide military support so the Ukrainians "can defend themselves."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that Graham's comment wasn't representative of the United States' position. She added that no one in the Biden administration would make the remark.

The Global Times editorial board wrote in the op-ed that the White House should have been more critical of Graham's remark, saying they "replied too softly."

While the Global Times initially appeared to tone down its rhetoric about the United States as Russia's invasion began, the state-run outlet has capitalized on the conflict to renew attacks on America. It accused the country of attempting to turn the world against Putin and attempted to sow doubt in America's ability to defend its allies.

Some raised concerns that Russia's invasion of Ukraine could give China a look into how the world would react if it made a military move against Taiwan. In a recent op-ed, the Global Times accused the United States of proving it couldn't handle one war by not putting troops on the ground in Ukraine and called it a "suicide mission" to fight wars in two theaters at one time.

Graham didn't shy away from the criticism and defended his remark during a Fox News interview on Friday. During the appearance, Graham told host Sean Hannity that he planned to introduce a resolution that declares Putin a "war criminal."

Graham added that he believed that the world would be better off if, "Putin were gone tonight. The best way to end this war is not American boots on the ground, but for the Russian people to rise up, reclaim the honor of their country and take this guy out, Putin, by any means necessary and if you don't understand that, you don't understand this war and you don't understand the world in which we live."