Joe Biden became agitated when Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich shouted a question to him on Thursday prior to a meeting of his infrastructure implementation task force.
“Why are you waiting on Putin to make the first move, sir?” Heinrich asked.
Biden chuckled, softly replying, “What a stupid question.” The hot mic response went viral.
Heinrich was referring to Biden’s senile comment during his press conference that a “minor incursion” by the Russians into Ukraine might not lead to a strong response from NATO. Thus, Biden was inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to test the president’s limits on what a “minor incursion” might mean.
The comment set off a firestorm both in the United States and in Europe. But was it really a “stupid question”?
White House press secretary Jen Psaki answered that question by saying that Heinrich was right.
“Is the president aware that he was caught on a hot mic yesterday? Why does he appear to be dismissing the idea of proactive deterrence?” Heinrich asked Psaki at Friday’s briefing.
“Well, the president certainly does not dismiss that idea, considering he has taken a lot of steps including supporting and approving the several sanctions that were put out by the Treasury Department just a couple of days ago,” Psaki said.
She said the U.S. had provided financial and military assistance to Ukraine as it stares down possible aggression from its neighbor.
“I would say the president is hardly waiting,” she said. “Actions are pretty clear on that front.”
Heinrich wasn’t the only reporter to be disrespected by Biden. During the press conference, RealClearNews reporter Philip Wegmann asked about Biden’s pledge during the campaign to “return to civility.”
“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 said that there would be sort of in the same camp?” Wegmann asked.
“No, I didn’t say that. Look what I said,” Biden scolded the reporter. “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? And that is an interesting reading of English. Yeah, I assume you got it in the journals because you like to write.”
It’s clear that Biden holds no respect for any reporter on the right. This is fine because it’s doubtful anyone on the right — and much of the left — respects him either. But a president should be above that kind of partisan gameplaying.
If you’re old enough to remember President Reagan facing down a roomful of hostile liberal reporters who always tried to frame questions and his responses in the worst possible light, you might look at Biden and wonder how any with his temperament could be in politics.
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