President Biden's vulgar remarks were picked up by a hot mic
US President Joe Biden was caught responding to a question about inflation on Monday by calling a Fox News reporter a "stupid son of a b****”, not realising his microphone was still on.
The president was in the East Room of the White House for a meeting of his Competition Council, which is focused on changing regulations and enforcing laws to help consumers deal with high prices. Reporters in the room shouted a number of questions after Mr Biden's remarks.
Fox News' Peter Doocy asked Mr Biden about inflation, which is at a nearly 40-year high and has hurt the president's public approval. Mr Doocy's network has been relentlessly critical of Mr Biden.
Mr Doocy called out, “Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?”
Mr Biden responded with sarcasm, “It's a great asset — more inflation." Then he shook his head and added, “What a stupid son of a b****.”
The president's comments were captured on video and by the microphone in front of him. Mr Doocy laughed it off in a subsequent appearance on his network, joking, "Nobody has fact-checked him yet and said it’s not true.”
He explained that he hadn't even heard the president's response and only found out once the conference had finished. "I couldn't even hear him because people were shouting at us to get out but somebody came up to me a few minutes later in the briefing room and said, 'did you hear what the president said?'" he said.
Mr Doocy told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Biden called him later to clear the air. Mr Doocy said Mr Biden told him, “It’s nothing personal, pal."
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The White House has insisted repeatedly it is focused on curbing inflation, with Mr Biden reorienting his entire economic agenda around the issue. But the president has also shown a willingness to challenge a media that he deems to be too critical, especially Fox News and Mr Doocy.
At his news conference last week, Mr Biden said to Mr Doocy with sarcasm, “You always ask me the nicest questions.”
“I have a whole binder full,” the reporter answered.
“I know you do,” Mr Biden said. “None of them make a lot of sense to me. Fire away.”