'Only ask about ice cream': Joe Biden trolled for berating reporter who asked about recession
President Joe Biden bashed a reporter on Monday, June 20, for asking him about the possibility of a US recession. This comes as Americans are struggling to deal with inflation-fueled price hikes. Biden was strolling near his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach when a reporter asked him about economic experts “saying a recession is more likely than ever,” a seemingly angry Biden said, "Not — the majority of them aren’t saying that. Come on, don’t make things up, OK?"
“Now you sound like a Republican politician,” the president said, quickly adding, “I’m joking. That was a joke.” He went on to call for higher taxes on the wealthy and blame oil companies for the significant hike at the pump. "But all kidding aside, no, I don’t think it is [inevitable],” Biden said. “I was talking to [former Treasury Secretary] Larry Summers this morning and there’s nothing inevitable about a recession.”
Speaking of making a decision on whether to ask Congress to waive the federal gas tax of 18.3 cents per gallon, Biden said, "Yes I’m considering it. I hope I have a decision based on the data I’m looking for by the end of the week.”
Biden snaps at reporter asking about economists forecasting a recession: “The majority aren’t saying that. Don’t make things up, OK. Now you sound like a Republican politician. I’m joking, that was a joke, that was a joke.” pic.twitter.com/95DjBfdn0y— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 20, 2022
Biden also blamed inflation on former president Donald Trump. "We also can move in a direction that we can provide for tax — increasing taxes on those in the corporate area as well as individuals as it relates to [former President Donald] Trump’s tax cut, which is inflationary,” Biden said. “You know, going out and buying a yacht doesn’t help the economy a whole lot.”
The president blamed the December 2017 tax law for inflation, although the annual US inflation actually dropped from 2.1% in 2017 to 1.9% in 2018. A present, it is at 8.6%. “We have a chance here to make a fundamental turn toward renewable energy, electric vehicles, and not just luxury vehicles, but across the board. And that’s something we should be — my team is going to be sitting down with the CEOs of the major oil companies this week … starting an explanation of how they justify making $35 billion in the first quarter,” Biden confirmed that he would not attend the meeting. Asked why, he said, "Because my team is going to do that."
Meanwhile, Biden signed legislation at the White House on Thursday, June 16, saying he would improve inflation at least on the margins. He put much of the blame for inflation on Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling out the industry of consolidated foreign-flagged vessels. At an event, he accused shipping companies of "sticking it to American families and businesses." The president slammed them for the hike in prices that "hurt American families", claiming that at a time when supply chains were disrupted in 2021, an industry controlled by nine major companies enjoyed $190 billion in profits.
"These carriers made $190 billion in profit in 2021, seven times higher than the year before," Biden said. "The cost got passed on, as you might guess, directly to consumers, sticking it to American families and businesses because they could." The president added that the new law would "bring down prices to give American families a bit more breathing room."
The legislation he signed on June 16 is aimed at making shipping goods across oceans cheaper. He joked about how the vote for it in the House was overwhelming and how the bill did not face any objection in the Senate. "I hardly remember those days. I served there for 36 years," Biden said. In March, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act passed unanimously by the Senate via voice vote. The act, which won bipartisan House support, empowers the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate late fees charged by carriers. Further, ocean carriers and marine terminals are prohibited from refusing to fill available cargo space.
Biden is being trolled on social media for his comments after snapping at the reporter over the recession question. "The fact that we’re entering a recession and our president is joking around and on vacation is sad," one user wrote on Twitter. "He has an uncanny ability to turn every moment into an opportunity to divide the country," said another.
The fact that we’re entering a recession and our president is joking around and on vacation is sad.— GAMMA_RUNs (@thestockman0) June 20, 2022
He has an uncanny ability to turn every moment into an opportunity to divide the country.— Ninja Mary (@NinjaMaryCat) June 20, 2022
"You are not allowed to ask him anything other than what his favorite ice cream flavor is...c'mon man, we all know that!" one wrote, while another user said, "It's nice to see Joe on vacation. When we can barely afford to drive to work." "I hope I sound like a Republican politician. What a compliment!" one user commented.
You are not allowed to ask him anything other than what his favorite ice cream flavor is...c'mon man, we all know that!— GenX-Freedom (@GenXNFTer) June 20, 2022
It's nice to see Joe on vacation. When we can barely afford to drive to work.— TonyRamada (@TonyRamada) June 20, 2022
I hope I sound like a Republican politician. What a compliment!— Francis-Flower Watkins (@FFlowerWatkins) June 20, 2022