Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday said Russian leader Vladimir Putin likely would be removed from office were he an American President, given how the Ukraine invasion has gone.
“It’s just gone poorly. I mean, if he were an American President right now, he’d be impeached,” Rubio said. “At least they’d be invoking all kinds of constitutional provisions to get rid of him.”
The Senator also said Putin’s “risk calculus is different” than it might have been in the past, but that he’s not necessarily “insane.”
“I don’t think he’s, like, the way we would describe as insane in the normal sense. I think this is a guy who feels he’s got everything to gain at this point. Losing a war would oust him from power, which is something he can never allow to happen,” Rubio said.
Rubio did not offer specific insights about Putin’s health — such as things Rubio may be privy to in briefings — which was the initial question posed to him by Fox & Friends interviewers. Many have speculated whether Putin is sick.
“I haven’t been told anything I can share with you other than some pretty obvious observations. I mean, the guy’s older, right?”
Rubio suggested part of the reason for Putin looking ill may be Russian underperformance in the Ukraine invasion.
The Senator also said the war isn’t “going well” and that Putin “knows the truth about it.”
“The reality of it is they’ve probably lost more soldiers. They’ve probably lost two times as many soldiers already than they lost in Afghanistan, the entire time during the Afghanistan invasion (as) the Soviet Union,” Rubio said. “Probably degraded their military forces 20-30%. They’ve had high failure rates.”
Rubio’s estimation of Putin’s mental acuity has declined since the Ukraine invasion. In 2021, the Senator fretted that Putin worked to “muscle” President Joe Biden at a bilateral summit between the two leaders.
“This is a trained ideological operative, a psychological operative, I should say. He’s a trained intelligence officer,” Rubio said. He contrasted Putin with Biden, who Rubio doubted had “full control over his presidency” at that point.
This article first appeared at Florida Politics.