Let’s Play Hardball! Doocy, Nelson, Rosen, Wegmann Battle Biden in Wild Presser

In a press conference Wednesday that ran nearly two hours, President Biden faced over 60 questions from 24 different reporters, but it wasn’t a surprise that the most contentious moments and questions that were most probing came from reporters that usually give Press Secretary Jen Psaki a run for her money in Fox’s Peter Doocy, the New York Post’s Steven Nelson, Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann, and newly-minted Newsmax correspondent James Rosen.

Biden was ready to give up 77 minutes into the affair when he wondered: “How — how many more hours am I doing this? I’m happy to stick around.”

Doocy was then spotted by Biden, who offered the quip that Doocy “always ask[s] me the nicest questions” even though “none of them make a lot of sense to me.”

Doocy said he has “a whole binder here” and, though Biden would only grant him one quesiton, he made it count: “New year. Why are you trying so hard in your first year to pull the country so far to the left?”

Biden replied to this scorcher by saying he’s “not” because he doesn’t “know what you consider to be too far to the left if in fact we’re talking about making sure that we have the money for COVID, to put together the bipartisan infrastructure, making sure we were able to provide for those things that…would significantly reduce the burden on working class people.”

He then called on Wegmann, who brought up on an outstanding question asked earlier by NewsNation’s Allison Harris:

[A] moment ago, you were asked whether or not you believed that we would have free and fair elections in 2022 if some of these state legislatures reformed their voting protocols. You said that it depends. Do you — do you think that they would in any way be illegitimate?

Biden said “it would be easy to be illegitimate,” but then wandered off by citing the 2020 election, so Wegmann reminded him the upcoming election is this year, 2022.

Still, Biden said he’s “sure” of the possibility it won’t “be legit” because, if he doesn’t get his way on voting rights, Republicans could say “the count was not legit” or “you have to recount it or we’re not going to count, we’re going to discard the following votes.”

Wegmann followed up with two more about his divisive Georgia speech and his comparing of Republicans to segregationists. Immediately, Biden exploded in anger (click “expand”):

WEGMANN: One more, sir. You know, you talked — you campaigned and you ran on a return to civility and I know that you dispute the characterization that you called folks who would oppose those voting bills as being Bull Connor or George Wallace, but you’ve said they would be sort of in the same camp. 

BIDEN: No, I didn’t say that. Look what I said, go back and read what I said and tell me if you think I called anyone who voted on the side of the position taken by Bull Connor that they were Bull Connor. That is an interesting reading of English. I assume you got it in the journals because you like to write. 

WEGMANN: So, did you expect that to work with Senators Manchin or Sinema?

BIDEN: No, here’s the thing. There are certain things that are so consequential. You have to speak from your heart as well as your head. I was speaking out forcefully on what I think to be at stake. That’s what it is and by the way, no one — no one forgets who was on the side of King or — verse — on Connor. No one, the history books will note it and when I was making the case, don’t think this is a freebie. You don’t get to vote this way and then somehow it goes away. This will be — stick with you the rest of your career and long after you’re gone. 

After another time check from Biden, he went to Nelson, who’s made issues like China, Hunter Biden transparency his cri de cour in the Briefing Room. In turn, it was only natural he presented them to the President himself (click “expand”):

NELSON: Well, President Biden, on the coronavirus, we’re tragically approaching nearly one million Americans who’ve died and I’d like to ask you why it is during your three and a half hour virtual summit in November with the Chinese president you didn’t press for transparency and also whether that has anything to do with your son’s involvement in an investment firm controlled by Chinese state-owned entities?

BIDEN: The answer is that we did — I did raise the question of transparency. I spent a lot of time with him. He — the fact is they’re just not being transparent. 

NELSON: Transparency on the coronavirus origins? 

BIDEN: Yes. 

NELSON: And you did during the virtual summit?

BIDEN: Yeah. 

NELSON: Is there a reason your press staff was unaware of that and what did you say to the Chinese president? 

BIDEN: And they weren’t with me the entire time. Look, I made it clear that I thought China had an obligation to be more forthcoming on what the source of the virus was and where it came from.

Two reporters later, Rosen received his first crack at Biden. Saying he wanted “to raise a delicate subject, but with utmost respect for your life accomplishments and the office you hold,” the former Fox journalist invoked questions about Biden’s cognitive health:

A poll released this morning by Politico/Morning Consult found 49 percent of registered voters disagreeing with the statement, Joe Biden is mentally fit. Not even a majority of Democrats who responded strongly affirmed that statement. 

“Well, I’ll let you all make the judgment whether they’re correct, thank you,” said Biden.

Rosen wasn’t done as he invited him to speculate about “why…such large segments of the American electorate have come to harbor such profound concerns about your cognitive fitness.”

With a smirk, Biden blurted out that he had “no idea.”

To see the relevant transcript from January 19’s press conference, click “expand.”

White House press conference
January 19, 2022
5:19 p.m. Eastern

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: How — how many more hours am I doing this? I’m happy to stick around. [REPORTERS SHOUTING] [TO PETER DOOCY] You always ask me the nicest questions. 

PETER DOOCY: Great, I got a whole binder here.

BIDEN: I know you do. 

DOOCY: All right. 

BIDEN: None of them make a lot of sense to me, but I —

DOOCY: Well, let’s — let’s try. 

BIDEN: — fire away. C’mon.

DOOCY: New year. Why are you trying so hard in your first year to pull the country so far to the left? 

BIDEN: Well, I’m not. I don’t know what you consider to be too far to the left if in fact we’re talking about making sure that we have the money for COVID, to put together the bipartisan infrastructure, making sure we were able to provide for those things that in fact would significantly reduce the burden on working class people but make them have to continue to work hard. I don’t know how that is pulling it to the left. You may recall — you guys have been trying to convince me that I am Bernie Sanders. I’m not. I like him, but not a socialist. I’m a mainstream Democrat and I have been. And mainstream Democrats overwhelming — if you’ll notice, the 48 of the 50 Repub — Democrats supported me in the Senate on virtually everything I’ve asked. Yes, sir. 

PHILIP WEGMANN: I wanted to clarify — a moment ago, you were asked whether or not you believed that we would have free and fair elections in 2022 if some of these state legislatures reformed their voting protocols. You said that it depends. Do you think that they would in any way be illegitimate? 

BIDEN: Oh, yeah, I think it would be easy to be illegitimate. Imagine, imagine if in fact Trump has succeeded in convinced pence to not count the votes. Imagine if — go.

WEGMANN: In regards to 2022, sir, the midterms.

BIDEN: Oh, 2022, I mean, imagine if those attempts to say that the count was not legit. You have to recount it or we’re not going to count, we’re going to discard the following votes. I mean, sure. I’m not saying it’s going to be legit. It’s the increase of the prospect of being illegitimate is a direct proportion of us not being able to get these — these reforms passed, but I don’t think you’re going to see, you’re not going to see me, I don’t think you’re going to see the Democratic Party, give up on — coming back at assuming the attempt fails today. 

WEGMANN: One more, sir. You know, you talked — you campaigned and you ran on a return to civility and I know that you dispute the characterization that you called folks who would oppose those voting bills as being Bull Connor or George Wallace, but you’ve said they would be sort of in the same camp. 

BIDEN: No, I didn’t say that. Look what I said, go back and read what I said and tell me if you think I called anyone who voted on the side of the position taken by Bull Connor that they were Bull Connor. That is an interesting reading to me. I assume you got it in the journals because you like to write. 

WEGMANN: So, did you expect that to work with Senators Manchin or Sinema?

BIDEN: No, here’s the thing. There are certain things that are so consequential. You have to speak from your heart as well as your head. I was speaking out forcefully on what I think to be at stake. That’s what it is and by the way, no one — no one forgets who was on the side of King or — verse — on Connor. No one, the history books will note it and when I was making the case, don’t think this is a freebie. You don’t get to vote this way and then somehow it goes away. This will be — stick with you the rest of your career and long after you’re gone. 

WEGMANN: And Mr. President — 

[REPORTERS SHOUTING]

BIDEN: Folks — okay, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hang on, guys. We’ve only gone an hour and 20 minutes. I’ll keep going, but I’m going to go, let me get — let me get something straight here. How long are you guys ready to go? You want to go for another hour, two? 

REPORTERS: Yes.

BIDEN: Okay. I’m going to go, tell you what, folks. I’m going to go another 20 minutes until a quarter of. Okay? [TO STEVEN NELSON] Yes, sir. 

STEVEN NELSON: President Biden, thank you.

BIDEN: I want to thank my communications staff for the great help here. 

NELSON: Well, President Biden, on the coronavirus, we’re tragically approaching nearly one million Americans who’ve died and I’d like to ask you why it is during your three and a half hour virtual summit in November with the Chinese president you didn’t press for transparency and also whether that has anything to do with your son’s involvement in an investment firm controlled by Chinese state-owned entities?

BIDEN: The answer is that we did — I did raise the question of transparency. I spent a lot of time with him. He — the fact is they’re just not being transparent. 

NELSON: Transparency on the coronavirus origins? 

BIDEN: Yes. 

NELSON: And you did during the virtual summit?

BIDEN: Yeah. 

NELSON: Is there a reason your press staff was unaware of that and what did you say to the Chinese president? 

BIDEN: And they weren’t with me the entire time. Look, I made it clear that I thought China had an obligation to be more forthcoming on what the source of the virus was and where it came from.

(….)

5:26 p.m. Eastern

JAMES ROSEN: Thank you very much for this honor. James Rosen with Newsmax. I’d like to — I’d like to raise a delicate subject, but with utmost respect for your life accomplishments and the office you hold. A poll released this morning by Politico/Morning Consult found 49 percent of registered voters disagreeing with the statement, Joe Biden is mentally fit. 

BIDEN: Well — 

ROSEN: Not even a majority of Democrats who responded strongly affirmed that statement. 

BIDEN: — I’ll let you all make the judgment whether they’re correct, thank you. 

ROSEN: So the question I have for you sir, if you’d let me finish, is why do you suppose such large segments of the American electorate have come to harbor such profound concerns about your cognitive fitness? Thank you. 

BIDEN: I have no idea.

View Original Source Source