by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The official transcript of President Joe Biden’s recent presser will make for an interesting historical document. “Do you think,” Fox’s Peter Doocy asked as the event broke up, “inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?” “No, it’s a great asset,” Biden responded sarcastically, clearly annoyed by the (rather tame) question. “More inflation. What a stupid son of a b****.” That last part Biden muttered under his breath, but nothing is under your breath when said in front of a microphone. Perhaps in a nod to transparency, the official White House transcript includes the exchange, including the insult, in full.
Biden later called Doocy to apologize, and Doocy, to his credit, laughed it off with good humor. But the president’s tetchiness with reporters has become the norm, not the exception. In another recent press conference, RealClearPolitics’s Philip Wegmann asked Biden about his infamous comparison of his opponents to Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis. The president raised his voice and responded, “No, I didn’t say that. Look what I said,” before adding sarcastically, “That is an interesting reading in English. I assume you got into journalism because you like to write.” And then, a day after that press conference, audio engineers caught Biden muttering, “What a stupid question,” in response to one from Fox News’s Jacqui Heinrich on Ukraine.
Biden has a history of barking at reporters who ask questions he does not like. In early January, he snapped at a reporter who asked him why Stacey Abrams did not attend his speech in Georgia, saying, “I’m insulted that you asked.” In 2021, when CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked a departing Biden, “Why are you so confident [Putin] will change his behavior, Mr. President?” Biden turned back, wagged his finger, and said, “What the hell? … When did I say I was confident?” (He later apologized.)