Biden Told Fox News Reporter 'Nothing Personal, Pal,' in Phone Call After Cussing at Him on Camera
Getty (2) President Joe Biden (left) and Peter Doocy
After Joe Biden was caught on mic calling Fox News' Peter Doocy a "stupid son of a b----" on Monday, in response to a question from Doocy about inflation, the president called up the White House correspondent about an hour later to clear the air.
So, how did that conversation go?
"We had a nice call," Doocy told his Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday evening. Biden told him, "It's nothing personal, pal," according to Doocy.
The reporter elaborated on his chat with the president during his appearance on Hannity's show.
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"We went back and forth, and we were talking about just kind of moving forward, and I made sure to tell him that I'm always gonna try to ask something different than what everybody else is asking," Doocy said. "And he said, 'You got to.' And that's a quote from the president, so I'll keep doing it."
At the end of an event on inflation in the East Room of the White House on Monday, Doocy had shouted a question to the president: "Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?"
"It's a great asset. More inflation. What a stupid son of a b----," Biden, who was still at the microphone and on camera, muttered sarcastically as an aside — or so he thought.
Fox News Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy at the White House
Doocy didn't hear the comment in the moment but was aware of it by the time he joined a live broadcast of The Five later.
"So, Doocy, I think the president is right, you are a stupid SOB," one of the show's panelists, Jesse Watters, said.
"Yeah," Doocy said with a smile. "Nobody has fact-checked him yet and said it's not true."
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It seems there were no hard feelings on Doocy's part. He told Hannity, "I don't need anybody to apologize to me. He can call me whatever he wants as long as it gets him talking."
Hannity suggested the president owes Doocy a 20-minute sit-down interview to make up for the insult. But Doocy seemed satisfied with being designated a presidential "pal."
"Hey Sean, the world is on the brink of, like, World War III right now with all of this stuff going on," Doocy said, referring to growing tensions in Europe as Russia makes aggressive moves to invade its neighbor Ukraine. "I appreciate that the president took a couple of minutes out this evening while he was still at the desk to give me a call and clear the air."
Hannity pointed out that Doocy didn't say whether he got an apology.
Fox News Fox News' Peter (left) and Steve Doocy at the White House
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"I think that's enough. That's enough," Doocy told him. "We can move on. We can now move forward. There will be years — three to seven years of opportunities to ask him about different stuff."
During a press briefing Tuesday, Jen Psaki confirmed the phone call Biden had with Doocy.
"He conveyed to [Doocy] that 'it was nothing personal, man,' and also acknowledged that all of you are going to ask him a range of questions. So I think that speaks for itself," she said.
Since joining the Biden beat for Fox News, Doocy's question (and questioning style) have drawn particular attention from the president and his aides.
He has had a number of pointed exchanges with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki as the TV cameras rolled in the briefing room.
"My engagement with him, people don't always see this, but outside the briefing room, it is entirely professional and entirely, hopefully, responsive," Psaki said of Doocy last summer. "There's a performative component from the TV side of the briefing room."
As Doocy told PEOPLE: "It never feels like someone is 'destroying me' or I am 'destroying' anyone else. It's perfectly civil."
His approach, he said then, is "usually just me and I'm going over things that the administration has said, either recently or in the past, just to try to figure out how to get them to say something new."
"But when we're with the president, the greater concern is time," he said. "You have 10 or 15 seconds to ask a question, so I know I have to get his attention."