Biden calls NBC News anchor Lester Holt a 'wise guy' after the veteran journalist presses him on inflation

Biden calls NBC News anchor Lester Holt a 'wise guy' after the veteran journalist presses him on inflation
Then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks at a NBC Town Hall at Pérez Art Museum in Miami, with NBC News anchor Lester Holt at right, on October 5, 2020.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
  • President Biden called NBC News anchor Lester Holt a "wise guy" after being pressed about inflation.
  • During an interview that will air in full on Sunday, Holt pressed Biden on when Americans could expect relief.

President Joe Biden called veteran NBC journalist Lester Holt a "wise guy" for his line of questioning regarding rising inflation during an interview that will air on Sunday before the Super Bowl game.

Holt, during his sit-down with the president, asked him to clarify comments that he made last year when he said that inflation would be a transitory issue.

"I think it was back in July, you said inflation was going to be temporary," he asked Biden. "I think a lot of Americans are wondering what your definition of temporary is?"

The president pushed back: "Well, you're being a wise guy with me a little bit. And I understand, that's your job."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday released data showing that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – a key measure of US inflation – jumped 7.5% year-on-year in January 2022 and 0.6% month-over-month. The increase marked the highest single-year jump since 1982.


As Biden faces a historically difficult first midterm election this November, the annualized rate of inflation has been especially worrisome for American consumers.

Biden told NBC News during the interview that a host of issues contributed to the recent rise in inflation.

"Let's look at the reasons for the inflation," the president said. "The reason for the inflation is the supply chains were cut off, meaning that the products, for example automobiles ... the lack of computer chips to be able to build those automobiles so they could function ... they need those computer chips. They were not available."

Biden went on to reiterate how the dearth of new vehicles being built drove up new car prices across the country while pointing to his administration's push for solutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It made up at one point one-third the cost of inflation because the price of automobiles were up," he said. "So what I did when I went out and made sure we started to make those domestically ... we got intel to come in and provide $20 billion to build a new facility."


Biden has committed to tackling supply-chain issues that became prevalent in US grocery stories last year have carried over into 2022, but Holt asked him for specifics on when prices might come down.

"When can Americans expect some relief from this soaring inflation?" he asked the president.

"According to Nobel laureates, 14 of them that contacted me and a number of corporate leaders, it ought to be able to start to taper off as we go through this year," Biden said.

The president added: "In the meantime, I am going to do everything in my power to deal with the big points that are impacting most people and their homes."