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President Joe Biden had little patience for a reporter’s question about his past comments during a nearly two-hour press conference on Wednesday.
The president quickly went from an almost friendly and pleasant demeanor to one of anger when Philip Wegmann with RealClearPolitics asked him about his comments last week when speaking in Atlanta about so-called ‘votings rights’ legislation.
Biden had attacked opponents of eliminating the filibuster for standing in the way of passing the election reform effort, effectively comparing them to notorious segregationists.
“You know, you campaigned and you ran on a return to civility and I know that you dispute the characterization that you called folks who would oppose those voting bills as being Bull Connor or George Wallace, but you said that they would be sort of in the same camp?” Wegmann asked Biden during Wednesday’s press conference.
(Relevant portion of comments begin at 1:13 mark)
“No, I didn’t say that,” the president snapped back.
“Look, what I said, go back and read what I said!” he angrily continued. “And tell me, if you think I called anyone who voted on the side of a position taken by Bull Connor that they were Bull Connor.”
Biden followed up his angry retort with an insulting dig at the reporter.
“That is an interesting reading in English,” he said. “I assume you got into journalism because you like to write.”
Wegmann attempted to get back to some semblance of professionalism and asked the president another question.
“Do you expect that that would work with Senators Manchin or Sinema?” he asked, referring to the two Senate Democrats standing in the way of passing the legislation.
“No, here’s the thing, there’s certain things that are so consequential you have to speak from your heart as well as your head,” Biden replied.
“I was speaking out forcefully on what I think to be at stake. That’s what it is. And by the way, no one, no one forgets who was on the side of King versus Bull Connor. No one. The history books will note it. I was making the case,” he asserted.
“Don’t think this is a freebie. You don’t get to vote this way and then somehow it goes away. This will be — stick with you the rest of your career, and long after you’re gone,” he warned.
Biden’s “testy” tone and remarks got plenty of attention on Twitter while Wegmann got some praise for being bold enough to ask the question. The reporter reacted to the incident on Twitter himself.
Well, now that makes two presidents who have yelled at me—Trump and Biden.
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) January 19, 2022
People react like that when they know they screwed something up and can’t fix it.
— Will Keener (@WillKeener1070) January 19, 2022
Somebody’s cranky. Must not have gotten his afternoon nap
— GrumpyVet (@GrumpyVet79) January 19, 2022
— Chris Loesch (@ChrisLoesch) January 19, 2022
@PhilipWegmann THANK YOU. Thank you for finally asking Biden an actual question that Americans want an answer to. Your compatriots in that room are spineless lapdogs and sycophants. #BidenPresser https://t.co/WJa38IoBpq
— @thebeartruth (@thebeartruth3) January 19, 2022
Wld be journalistic malpractice NOT to ask a ? many Americans are upset abt
Biden’s angry response is telling + absurd:
He finally utters:
“You don’t get to vote this way + then [it] somehow goes away. This will stick w/you the rest of ur career and long after you’re done.”
— Susan Crabtree (@susancrabtree) January 19, 2022
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