President Biden called Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a bitch” Monday after he asked Biden about record-high inflation.
“Do you think inflation is a political liability?” Doocy asked Biden as the press was ushered out of an event in the White House East Room.
“That’s a great asset. More inflation? What a stupid son of a bitch,” Biden sneered into a hot mic.
The president’s vulgar insult was cut from the White House video feed but was audible on video streamed by C-SPAN.
Doocy, 34, is the son of “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy and his wife Kathy Gerrity Doocy. His question about inflation came after a Fox News poll released Sunday found that 85 percent of Americans are worried about inflation, which hit a 40-year annual high of 7 percent in December.
“He didn’t want to take any questions off-topic,” Doocy told “Special Report” host Bret Baier less than an hour after the incident. “He was at an event about inflation, and so I asked one on inflation.”
It’s rare for a president to call someone a “son of a bitch” — much less to their face. Former President Donald Trump drew sustained negative coverage in 2017 for using the term to refer to NFL players who refused to stand for the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
Monday’s outburst was the latest in a lengthy series of Biden jabs at the media.
Moments earlier, Biden chided a different reporter for asking him about fears that Russia may invade Ukraine — rather than about the gathering’s stated focus on economic competition.
The president bristled when a female reporter asked him about his afternoon call with European allies to discuss possible Russian military action.
“The only reason I don’t like doing this is you never report on why I called the meeting. And this is really important. I had a very, very, very good meeting. Total unanimity with all the European leaders. We will talk about it later,” Biden said.
The president increasingly has attacked reporters for asking about subjects that he dislikes.
On Thursday, Biden attacked a different Fox News reporter, Jacqui Heinrich, after she shouted, “Why are you waiting on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to make the first move, sir?”
“What a stupid question,” Biden said.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweeted after that remark, “This is extremely sexist and uncalled for. @JacquiHeinrich is a well-prepared, smart reporter, and Biden should apologize immediately.”
“It isn’t a stupid question,” tweeted Brett Bruen, a White House adviser to President Barack Obama. “It’s a really important one. We continue to allow Putin to set the terms, timeline, & trajectory of this crisis. It’s time we stop being so reactive & start creating some of our own conditions.”
At his second solo White House press conference on Wednesday, Biden implied that RealClearPolitics reporter Philip Wegmann might be illiterate when Wegmann asked about Biden’s controversial recent speech claiming that Republicans who opposed a federal election bill would be “on the side of” famous historical racists.
“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 they would be sort of in the same camp,” Wegmann said.
“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,” Biden fumed. “That is an interesting reading of English. You — I assume you got into journalism because you liked to write.”
Trump routinely blasted “fake news” or “third-rate” reporters and contended that some were “the enemy of the people” — often spurring significant media condemnation of his remarks.
But Biden, who campaigned on restoring civility to public life, also has built a record of mean-spirited exchanges with journalists.
In July, Biden knocked NBC News reporter Kelly O’Donnell for disobeying his request for questions “about Iraq” when she asked Biden instead about reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs would require staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“You are such a pain in the neck. But I’m going to answer your question because we’ve known each other for so long. It has nothing to do with Iraq,” Biden said, before confirming that the VA would be the first federal agency to compel vaccination.
In June, Biden lashed out at CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins when she shouted a question at a press conference in Geneva following his summit with Putin. Hours earlier, Biden and Putin watched in apparent amusement as Putin’s guards shoved US reporters at that gathering.
Collins asked, “Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior, Mr. President?”
“I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior! What the hell? What do you do all of the time? When did I say I was confident?” Biden shot back as he walked toward her with his finger in the air.
Biden erupted again when Collins followed up by noting how Putin had denied any involvement in cyberattacks against the US and downplayed Russia’s human rights violations, then asked Biden how their meeting could be considered constructive.
“If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business,” Biden shot back before storming off.
Shortly after that encounter, Biden apologized “for having been short” with Collins before boarding his return flight to the US.