“You asshole”: how Joe Biden’s insult is perceived in the American media

It’s a slip-up and a new sign of Joe Biden’s nervousness. The 79-year-old Democratic president, faced with an anemic popularity rating and struggling to revive his presidency, insulted a journalist on Monday, calling him an “asshole”, in the hubbub of an end of round table at the White House . Asked by Peter Doocy, a reporter for Fox News – the Conservatives’ favorite channel – whether inflation could be a political handicap, the leader, speaking under his breath but not leaving the table, began by replying ironically: “It’s a great asset. No more inflation.” He then blurted out, thinking maybe his mic was off: “You asshole.”

The insult (“What a stupid son of a bitch”) subsequently appeared as such in the transcript of the meeting sent Monday evening by the White House. About an hour after the incident, the American president called the journalist targeted by the insult, to assure him that there was “nothing personal” in his reaction. Known for the incisive tone of his questions, Peter Doocy took the situation with humor. “No one has yet verified the veracity of his words,” he launched on his channel a few minutes later.

As reported le New York Times, Peter Doocy and Joe Biden, whose insult is described as “vulgarity” by the famous daily, often have games. The US president often seems more amused than irritated by their sometimes thorny exchanges that have become a regular feature of Joe Biden’s public appearances. Monday’s exchange contrasts radically with the customary bonhomie of this president who has promised to reconcile America and usually avoids the excesses of language of his predecessor, Donald Trump. Joe Biden was immediately bombarded with criticism from the Republican camp.

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Donald Trump, George W. Bush… The precedents

Last week, after a very long press conference during which he had promised to go more into contact with the Americans, Joe Biden had already expressed his annoyance by murmuring “what a stupid question”, to another Fox News journalist , Jacqui Heinrich, who had asked: “Why are you waiting for Vladimir Putin to make the first move, sir?”. Approximate as he sometimes is, Joe Biden had made vague remarks on Ukraine and the legitimacy of the elections, which had forced his administration to make clarifications.

His predecessor Donald Trump was regularly vilified for his verbal excesses and his diatribes against the media. After a heated exchange with the Republican billionaire, a journalist from the CNN chain, Jim Acosta, was called a “rude and terrible person” and had his accreditation temporarily withdrawn from the White House. As reminded le New York Times, Donald Trump called ABC’s Jonathan Karl a “disgrace” and called April Ryan, who now officiates at TheGrio, a “loser”, to name just three examples. Among other times, Donald Trump once poked fun at the physical disabilities of a journalist from the New York Times to entertain his supporters at a campaign rally.

While running for president in 2000, George W. Bush was caught on a live microphone using a barnyard epithet to refer to a reporter from the New York Times. During his vice presidency, in 2010, Joe Biden was heard using an expletive to make it clear to President Barack Obama that signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare”, was a big problem.

As CNBC recalls, with inflation at levels not seen in decades, the White House has struggled in recent months to communicate with the public about its efforts to help lower prices over the long term. . In the short term, there is little that Joe Biden, or any president, can do to reverse macro trends like rising consumer demand and supply chain challenges in Asia.

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Joe Biden’s repeated missteps have, since the presidential campaign, regularly raised doubts about his mental fitness. The majority of his voters, however, seem to forgive him for his blunders, deeming him sympathetic and authentic, and accuse the media of magnifying the controversies.


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