President Biden dismissed a reporter’s question about a foreign policy issue concerning Ethiopia during a briefing on Tuesday to discuss raising the debt ceiling because he said it would “confuse” Americans.
The reporter noted that he wanted to ask the president about raising the ceiling, in which Republican leaders have said they refuse to join Democrats in doing, but also wanted to ask Biden something about the east African country that borders, among other nations, Djibouti, where the U.S. and China have military bases in close proximity.
“I’m gonna answer one, I’m not gonna answer Ethiopia, let’s stick on the debt so we don’t confuse the American people,” Biden chided the reporter.
Joe Biden says he won’t answer a foreign policy question because it would “confuse the American people" pic.twitter.com/8HP5fqDcwH
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 4, 2021
His response drew confused reactions and mocking online.
— T Elez (@nolagirltondra) October 4, 2021
— Connie Lisch (@conlisch) October 4, 2021
Oh, right! The ‘American people’ are the ones that are going to be confused. I don’t know, maybe he’s confused by the question, so this is his new go to excuse to not provide an answer? 🤷🏽♂️🙄
— Rich Anthony (@RichAnthony76) October 4, 2021
It probably would confuse the people that voted for him. So he’s probably correct.
— Mike Collins (@vthokiemike) October 4, 2021
We understand everything and stop using us as an excuse to deflect there are Americans and allies that are being held as hostages
— mariadiblase765 (@mariadiblase765) October 4, 2021
It’s unclear what the reporter’s question was regarding Ethiopia, but in mid-September Biden signed an executive order “authorizing broad sanctions against those involved in perpetrating the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia as reports of atrocities continue to emerge from the Tigray region,” CNN reported.
At the time, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “absent clear and concrete progress toward a negotiated ceasefire and an end to abuses — as well as unhindered humanitarian access to those Ethiopians who are suffering — the United States will designate imminently specific leaders, organizations, and entities under this new sanctions regime.”
Biden added that “the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia is a tragedy causing immense human suffering and threatens the unity of the Ethiopian state.
“The United States is determined to push for a peaceful resolution of this conflict, and we will provide full support to those leading mediation efforts,” he said, adding later that he is “appalled by the reports of mass murder, rape, and other sexual violence to terrorize civilian populations.”
During his speech, Biden blamed Republicans for refusing to join with Democrats to raise the debt limit, which he said was inappropriate given that the debt climbed by $8 trillion during former President Donald Trump’s term and Democrats joined with Republicans during those years to raise it multiple times.
"The reason we have to raise the debt limit is, in part, because of the reckless tax and spend policies under the previous Trump Admin," President Biden says.
"In four years, they incurred nearly $8 trillion." pic.twitter.com/M7uyFKXNM5
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 4, 2021
“The reason we have to raise the debt limit is, in part, because of the reckless tax and spending policies under the previous Trump administration,” Biden said at one point. “In four years, they incurred nearly $8 trillion.”
The national debt has skyrocketed since 2000, doubling during the George W. Bush administration from about $5.6 trillion to $10.7 trillion, then doubling again during the eight years of Barack Obama to nearly $20 trillion. As of this writing, the national debt stands at roughly $28.8 trillion.
In a letter to Biden on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reminded his former Senate colleague-turned-president that when he was in the minority, the Democrats also opposed the GOP majority in raising the debt ceiling.
“The president’s party had to take responsibility for a policy agenda which you opposed. Your view then is our view now,” McConnell wrote.
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