Biden grumbles press ‘never keep the deal’ during confused news conference with Kenya leader

WASHINGTON — President Biden lambasted the White House press corps Thursday — complaining that reporters “never keep the deal” when a journalist requested a second query at a joint press conference with Kenyan President William Ruto.

The 81-year-old Biden repeatedly flashed confusion and irritation at the 32-minute occasion and mistakenly referred to his vp as “President Kamala Harris” — making the error for no less than the eighth time — earlier than attempting to bar the reporter’s second question.

“Thank you, Mr. President. Two questions, if I may,” started the McClatchy newspaper chain’s chief Washington correspondent Michael Wilner, one in every of two US journalists chosen to ask questions — alongside with two Kenyan reporters — of each Biden and Ruto at the so-called “2:2” press conference.

“No, one!” Biden replied — in what his chuckling viewers initially assumed to be a joke.

Wilner requested first about US-supported peacekeeping efforts in Haiti, to which Kenya is contributing troops — a broadly anticipated matter — earlier than making an attempt to ask his second query a few pending arrest warrant software in opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, filed Monday by International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Karim Khan.

“And on Israel,” Wilner started earlier than Biden reduce him off.

“One question. I’ll answer your question,” the president mentioned, earlier than studying a scripted reply on Haiti.

The White House press workplace typically has some concept of what a journalist will ask — both because of their current historical past of questions at briefings and gaggles or as a result of press officers ask, generally slyly, about matters a reporter into consideration is concerned about that day.

When Wilner —who regularly covers matters associated to Haiti because of curiosity amongst readers of the Miami Herald, one in every of McClatchy’s largest titles — was given time to ask his query of Ruto, he politely defied Biden’s restriction and went forward and requested his second query.

“I do very briefly have a question,” Wilner calmly proceeded, “on whether the United States has any evidence at all that would substantiate the ICC prosecutor’s specific allegations against Israeli leaders that they are using starvation as a tactic of war in Gaza — or exculpatory evidence, for that matter.”

Wilner requested Biden “if you would commit to releasing that information before any potential issuance of ICC arrest warrants?”

“Look, we made my position known on ICC. You guys never keep the deal — but that’s OK,” Biden mentioned in a displeased tone.

“You know, we’ve made our position clear on the ICC,” he added. “We don’t think — we don’t recognize the jurisdiction, ICC, the way it’s been exercised. And it’s that simple. We don’t think there’s an equivalence between what Israel did and what Hamas did.”

Biden’s efficiency at the press conference drew speedy consideration for different causes, together with his obvious confusion at a number of factors, equivalent to when he made reference in his opening remarks to “our nation’s first black vice president, President Kamala Harris.”

In response to the first Kenyan reporter’s query, relating to the US choice to not ship its personal troops to Haiti, Biden appeared to assert that American troops have been serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa.

“We’re kind of occupied around the world, but we’re also engaged in Congo, in the neighborhood, and you know, we’ll continue to help mitigate human suffering there,” Biden mentioned — although no such deployment is publicly identified.

Moments later, Biden misplaced his prepare of thought.

“What was my question?” Biden requested the second American reporter, The Grio’s April Ryan, who had queried him about efforts to crush a robust Haitian gang.

Before the fourth reporter at the “2:2” presser was chosen, America’s oldest-ever president requested Ruto, “That it?”

Biden’s newest stumbles got here as an awesome majority of voters say he’s too outdated to serve one other four-year time period forward of his Nov. 5 rematch in opposition to former President Donald Trump, 77. Biden could be 86 if he completes a full second time period in January 2029.

A New York Times/Siena College ballot launched in March discovered 73% of registered voters consider Biden is “too old to be an effective president” — whereas simply 42% mentioned the identical of Trump.

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