Watch Joe Biden Snap at NBC Reporter: 'You’re Such a Pain in My Neck'
© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEIN US President Joe Biden speaks during a bilateral meeting with Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, 26 July 2021
© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEIN
The US President greeted Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in the White House on Monday. Following the talks, Biden took several questions from reporters about the prospects of relationship between America and Iraq – but some journalists demanded to know things far beyond the agenda.
Joe Biden just couldn’t keep it together when an NBC journalist asked him about a newly announced vaccine mandate at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA): “You’re such a pain in my neck”, the president told veteran reporter Kelly O'Donnell.
The exchange happened after Biden’s sit-down with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. The president talked to journalists after the meeting, but as reporters started to leave the room, O'Donnell rushed to ask Biden about a new announcement from Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough that health care workers at his department will be required 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 so long,” Biden responded with a hint of a smile on his face.
O'Donnell, who has worked as a White House correspondent during four administrations, didn’t seem offended though: “I take that as a compliment, Mr. President.”
Biden responded with a chuckle. But then he moved on to confirm that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will indeed soon require all health staffers at the facilities to get vaccinated against COVID-19, making it the first federal agency in the US to require all of its frontline workers to get inoculated.
The president, however, remained reluctant to say whether there will be more mandates for federal workers coming soon.
© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEINUS President Joe Biden greets Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2021
US President Joe Biden greets Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2021
© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEIN
Biden’s picky exchange with O’Donnell was still much friendlier than the one he had with a CNN reporter at the end of the Geneva summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As Biden was about to leave the press conference that followed a much anticipated meeting between the two, he snapped at the journalist who asked him why the US president was “so confident” that his Russian counterpart “will change his behaviour”.
“When did I say I was confident? […] I’m not confident of anything, I’m just stating a fact,” a visibly frustrated Biden told the reporter, and as she continued to press him on the issues of Russia’s alleged involvement in cyberattacks and “human right abuses” he told her: “If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business.”
These snaps are quite unusual for Biden, who often gets lenient treatment from the American media unlike his predecessor Donald Trump – at least that’s what most of the former president’s supporters believe.