Biden calls Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a 'stupid son of a bitch' over a question about inflation and the midterms

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Biden calls Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a 'stupid son of a bitch' over a question about inflation and the midterms
President Joe Biden speaks to the press after attending a meeting with the Senate Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill, on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022 in Washington, DC.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
  • President Joe Biden told off the Fox News reporter Peter Doocy after Doocy asked about inflation.
  • "Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?" Doocy asked.
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President Joe Biden on Monday called the Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy a "stupid son of a bitch" after the reporter asked Biden whether rising inflation posed a political risk to Democrats.

"Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?" Doocy called out to the president as reporters exited a meeting of the White House Competition Council.

Biden appeared to mock the question, replying sarcastically: "It's a great asset. More inflation."

He continued, "What a stupid son of a bitch."

Neither the White House nor Fox News immediately responded to requests for comment from Insider. After the exchange, Doocy said he wasn't initially aware of the president's insult and made light of the exchange.

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"I couldn't even hear him because people were shouting at us to get out, but somebody came up to me in the briefing room a few minutes later and said, 'Did you hear what the president said?' And I said, 'No, what?' And they said, 'He called you a stupid SOB,'" he recounted.

When the Fox News host Jesse Watters joked that Doocy was indeed an "SOB," Doocy responded, laughing, "Yeah, nobody has fact-checked him yet and said it's not true."

According to CNN's chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, Biden later called Doocy to apologize for the remark. She noted the hot-mic moment was part of the official White House transcript of the session.

By one popular measure, inflation in the US hit a 40-year high in December, with ongoing labor shortages and supply-chain bottlenecks helping to push prices up across the board for goods like groceries, gas, and housing — and erasing many of the wage gains that workers experienced in the past year. Rising inflation is among the reasons Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has come out against Biden's $2 trillion social- and climate-spending bill, dealing a blow to the party's efforts to enact the centerpiece of their economic agenda.

Democrats are increasingly anxious that worsening inflation will cause voters to punish them at the ballot box in November.

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Doocy, representing the politically conservative Fox News, has frequently sparred with the White House during his tenure as a reporter. During a press conference last week, the president called on Doocy and said, sarcastically: "You always ask me the nicest questions."

"None of them make a lot of sense to me, but fire away, come on," Biden added.

Doocy also often gets into tense exchanges with the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, during her televised briefings. But the reporter had said before Monday that he felt respected by the Biden White House.

"It never feels like I'm getting smacked down or vice versa," Doocy told The New York Times of his public exchanges with Psaki in September. "I understand why it looks like that, some of the ways that stuff gets clipped, but it doesn't feel like that in the room."

Psaki has also characterized her interactions with Doocy as "entirely professional" and has said there's an element of performance in Doocy's briefing-room questions.

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"My engagement with him, people don't always see this, but outside the briefing room, it is entirely professional and entirely, hopefully, responsive," Psaki told Mediaite in August. "There's a performative component from the TV side of the briefing room."

In a particularly heated July exchange, Psaki called a question from Doocy about the administration's efforts to crack down on vaccine misinformation "loaded and inaccurate," and Psaki called Doocy "irresponsible" in August for claiming that American citizens were "stranded" in Afghanistan amid the American withdrawal.

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