President Joe Biden was caught calling Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a ‘stupid son of a b**ch’ on a hot mic after he asked a question about inflation Monday.
The president made the comment at the tail end of an event meant to publicize his efforts to address supply-chain issues and tackle inflation.
When he finished his prepared remarks, several reporters yelled out questions to the president – who was seated across the long East Room of the White House.
Biden spoke briefly about his call with European leaders about the Ukraine crisis when asked for an update by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins – but first scolded the press.
‘The only reason I don’t like doing this is you never report on why I’ve called the meeting. This is really important. I had a very, very, very good meeting. Total unanimity with all the European leaders. We’ll talk about it later,’ Biden responded.
Then Doocy, who was being ushered out, asked: ‘Do you think inflation is a political liability [ahead of the] midterms?’
President Joe Biden called Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy a ‘son of a b**ch’ after he asked if inflation was a political liability during the upcoming mid-term elections
The official White House transcript of the event included Biden’s hot-mic insult to Doocy
Biden was then caught on a hot mic muttering: ‘That’s a great asset. More inflation. What a stupid son of a b**ch.’
The comment distracted from the event Biden hoped to feature, having gathered the Treasury Secretary, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and other top administration officials.
The broadside came days after Biden mocked another Fox news reporter, Jacqui Heinrich, ‘Why are you waiting on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to make the first move, sir?’
‘What a stupid question’ Biden responded.
‘You’re going to be known as the stupid SOB guy,’ Fox host Jesse Waters told Doocy as hosts on Fox News ‘The Five’ laughed about the episode after Doocy rushed on-air to provide a play-by-play.
‘So I shouted… ‘Okay, what about inflation? Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?’ Doocy explained during his appearance. ‘I couldn’t even hear him because people were shouting at us to get out. But somebody came up to me in the briefing room a few minutes later and said, ‘Did you hear what the president said?’ And I said, ‘No, what?’ They said, ‘He called you stupid SOB.’ And I said, Did he say ‘SOB’ and the person said, ‘No.’
‘So Doocy, I think the president’s right, you are a stupid SOB,’ Watters quipped.
‘Yeah, nobody has fact-checked him yet and said it’s not true,’ Doocy replied.
Making the episode all the more unusual was Biden’s own habit of regularly calling on Doocy at the event of events, including at his marathon press conference last week.
US President Joe Biden meets with members of his administration on efforts to lower prices for working families at the East room of the White House, in Washington, DC on January 24, 2022. Reporters were positioned at the opposite end of the room
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen looks through her briefing papers as she meets with U.S. President Joe Biden and his Competition Council in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 24, 2022. Biden gathered multiple top officials for the meeting where he cursed at the reporter into his mic
Doocy’s question, which was about inflation, drew a curse from the president
Biden regularly calls on Doocy at the end of events, even if he was not on a pre-prepared list of questioners
Biden fielded a shouted question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who asked about his meeting with European leaders, then admonished the press for going off topic
Reporters shouted questions about the tense situation in Ukraine. Oddly, Doocy is the only person who shouted out a question related to the subject of Biden’s meeting before Biden called him a ‘son of a b**ch’
The White House appears to have attempted to choreograph how the event was supposed to end. After Biden finished his own prepared remarks, Biden yielded to economic advisor Brian Deese, who said: ‘We’re going to give the press a moment to exit.’ That served as a cue for the media to leave, although reporters shouted questions about the brewing situation in Ukraine anyway.
An official White House readout of Biden’s call with European leaders was free of curses, but didn’t shed much light on the latest developments in the region.
‘President Biden held a secure video call with European leaders today. They reiterated their continued concern about the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and expressed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,’ according to the statement. ‘The leaders underscored their shared desire for a diplomatic resolution to the current tensions and reviewed recent engagements with Russia in multiple formats. The leaders also discussed their joint efforts to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine, including preparations to impose massive consequences and severe economic costs on Russia for such actions as well as to reinforce security on NATO’s eastern flank,’ the statement said.
It didn’t take long for some Biden opponents to pounce.
‘Joe Biden may think it’s stupid to care about inflation,’ tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). ‘But a whole lot of Americans disagree. And they’re going to vote this November.’
Longtime Democratic strategist Jim Manley, who used to work for the sharp-tongued Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, tweeted: ‘I have more than a passing familiarity with trying to get a certain senator from answering questions on the fly from unfriendly reporters. Someone on the wh staff has got to tell Biden to knock this off.’
The White House did not immediately respond to a question about what happened and whether Biden knew the mic was on at the time he made the comment.
Biden’s slap came on a tense day overseas, after he spent the weekend at Camp David and met with security advisors.
His event came after the Pentagon announced that Biden is ordering 8,500 U.S.-based troops to stand ready to deploy to Eastern Europe.
‘This is really about getting folks ready to go,’ Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said during a press conference.
He said the majority of those troops would be ground forces.
‘There’s not a mission per se, this is about [Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin] wanting to get ahead of the potential activation and making sure these units have time to prepare,’ Kirby told reporters.
The NATO Response Force is comprised of some 40,000 international troops across land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces (SOF) components.
Kirby said the move was ‘sending a strong message that we’re committed to NATO and we’re committed to ensuring that our allies have the capabilities they need in case they need to defend themselves.’
He stressed the troops are currently on ‘heightened alert’ posture and have no plans to deploy at this time.
The ‘bulk of them’ would be dedicated to the NRF to be activated if called upon by the Western defensive coalition but added that Austin wants the 8,500 troops to be postured for ‘any other contingencies as well.’
A vast majority of those standby troops will be active duty service members, though Kirby did not rule out the possibility of getting reserve forces assembled as well.
Austin ordered the troops to stand ready to deploy at the direction of President Joe Biden.
Kirby said the units that would be flagged for possible deployment to Eastern Europe would be notified and announced in the near future.
‘It’s very clear the Russians have no intention right now of de-escalating,’ the Pentagon official said.
Following their video call, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the leaders agreed there would be ‘severe costs’ to Russia if Moscow invaded Ukraine.