Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued a striking remark during an interview on Sunday about Russian President Vladimir Putin while talking about the possibility of the war in Ukraine breaking out into a full-scale world war.

“Well, it’s not going to be World War III – this is all a bluff,” Graham said during a Fox News interview on “Sunday Morning Futures.” “Putin knows that no one wins a nuclear exchange. If he ordered a strike on the United States, a general would shoot him in the head.”

The remarks from Graham come after he has repeatedly called for the Russian people to assassinate Putin for the good of their own country.

“I’m begging you in Russia … you need to step up to the plate and take this guy out,” Graham said in a Fox News appearance during the first week in March, later adding in a subsequent interview, “You need to take this guy out, by any means possible.”

Graham also made the same call on his Twitter account, saying that the Russian people needed to do it to avoid being thrown into “abject poverty.”

“Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military? The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out. You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service,” Graham tweeted. “The only people who can fix this are the Russian people. Easy to say, hard to do. Unless you want to live in darkness for the rest of your life, be isolated from the rest of the world in abject poverty, and live in darkness you need to step up to the plate.”

Graham was slammed by members of his own party over the remarks, including from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

“This is an exceptionally bad idea,” Cruz responded. “Use massive economic sanctions; BOYCOTT Russian oil & gas; and provide military aid so the Ukrainians can defend themselves. But we should not be calling for the assassination of heads of state.”

“While we are all praying for peace & for the people of Ukraine, this is irresponsible, dangerous & unhinged,” Greene tweeted. “We need leaders with calm minds & steady wisdom. Not blood thirsty warmongering politicians trying to tweet tough by demanding assassinations. Americans don’t want war.”

Retired Navy captain Steven Horrell said during an interview this week that the risk to be concerned about was “more expansionism.”

“There’s a risk of something sparking an escalation, some sort of incident on the high seas, or in international airspace, or a fabricated incident for some sort of cross-border thing that could lead to further escalation,” he added. “I think Russia has for some time held the opinion that the West, the U.S. [and] NATO, have a very low tolerance for cost and for pain. And, conversely, that Russia has a much higher cost acceptance.”

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