President Biden snapped at NBC News Lester Holt, calling the TV anchor a “wise guy” when he questioned him inaccurately defined inflation to be temporary, but instead, it has surged to a new brutal 40-year high with no sign of easing down anytime soon.
“I think it was back in July; you said inflation was going to be temporary. I think a lot of Americans are wondering what your definition of temporary is,” Holt asked Biden during the president’s first sit-down interview of 2022, on the same day the Bureau of Labor revealed that year-on-year inflation in January reached 7.5% — the highest level since 1982.
“Well, you’re being a wise guy with me a little bit,” Biden snarkily replied. “I understand. That’s your job.”
Biden then responded by explaining “what happened” that caused the inflationary pressure and hurt Americans’ pockets every day, blaming the supply chain crisis.
“But look at the time. What happened was… let’s look at the reasons for the inflation… is the supply chains were cut off. For example, automobiles, the lack of computer chips to be able to build those automobiles and so they could function, they need those computer chips. They were not available,” Biden said.
“So what happens. The number of new cars were reduced. It made up one-third of the cost of inflation because the price of automobiles were up. 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. A number of organizations are doing the same kinds of things,” Biden added.
The latest consumer prices index showed inflation soared 7.5% from January 2021 to January 2022, with increases in food, electricity, and shelter indexes being the largest contributors to the data report. The eye-popping hot report marked the eighth straight month in which inflation has surged more than 5 percent annually under Biden’s presidency. Monthly, consumer prices increased by 0.6%.
Inflation was not transitory as Biden had maintained while previously dismissing the concern to be temporary during the time the widely followed price gauge began to rise. Last July, when consumer prices hit over 5% annually, Biden proclaimed based on his “experts” they “expected to be temporary.”
The White House has long claimed the surge in prices would slow as the COVID pandemic eases and businesses return to normal. However, when inflation reached 6.8% in December, Biden asserted that inflation was at “the peak of the crisis” and would decelerate more rapidly than expected.
“When can Americans expect some relief from this soaring inflation?” Holt followed up.
Biden then pointed to 14 “Nobel laureates” that he claimed told him that inflation will begin to taper off by the end of 2022.
“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, as Holt moved on to ask the president about his potential Supreme Court nominee.
The president has previously lashed out at other reporters when pressed on questions regarding inflation, a hot button issue concerning over 80% of Americans, and dragging his approval rating to below 40%. Last month, Biden insulted Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, calling him a “stupid son of a bitch,” when questioned about inflation and its potential implications impacting the midterm elections.
High inflation has become a political liability for the White House and Democrats heading into the midterm as Republicans continue to slam Biden as being out of touch by deflecting while blaming his administration policies for exacerbating the “Biden-flation crisis.”
“January’s CPI data marks a sad anniversary for American families: one year of Joe Biden’s failed policies and reckless spending causing historic inflation and skyrocketing prices. President Biden has taken our economy and flushed it down the drain. Worse, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by that at all. While Biden is in Delaware every weekend enjoying his ice cream, families are struggling to make ends meet,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), a key Senator who continues to call attention to the crisis, said in a statement. “All we see from this administration is finger-pointing. Biden needs to take responsibility TODAY and get this crisis under control. Americans deserve better.”
Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers under President Obama has also pointed to Biden’s $1.9 COVID stimulus package as the driver of the increased inflationary woes.
The full interview will air before Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI.