Biden Criticised For Joking He’d Run Over Reporter Who Asked Him About Israel
President Joe Biden joked that he would run over a reporter who tried to ask him a question about ongoing Israeli air strikes against Gaza, prompting a mixed response on social media.
Biden made the light-hearted threat during an unscheduled stop at a Ford manufacturing plant on a trip to Dearborn, Michigan on Tuesday, May 18.
While on the visit, the president was given the chance to jump into the driver seat of Ford’s new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, and pulled up to a group of waiting reporters after taking it for a spin.
Rather than asking about the future of electric vehicles as he might have hoped, one reporter asked if they could quiz him on Israel. A video posted by C-SPAN shows Biden responding, ‘No, you can’t. Not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it,’ before quickly adding, ‘I’m only teasing.’
The comment got a good laugh from the reporters, but it’s not gone down so well on social media. While many seemed to agree that the comments were nothing more than a harmless joke, Republicans seized on the incident as proof of a double standard among Democrats, with one person tweeting that ‘if President Trump had done this, he would have been impeached’.
The joke also got some backlash from Democrats who have been critical of his response to the ongoing violence. The Biden administration has called for civilians to be protected from the violence, but has continued to promote the US’s long-held position that Israel ‘has the right to defend itself’.
Critics have argued that this position fails to recognise the disproportionate military and economic advantage that Israel holds over Palestine, with many Democrats openly opposing the Biden administration’s stance.
Following the US’s move to block a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian militants who control Gaza, Democratic House Representative Ilhan Omar tweeted that Biden’s position was ‘disgusting and immoral’ and served to ‘endorse this violent bloodshed’.
She added, ‘I don’t know any other time when the US has actively blocked a ceasefire and allowed for civilians to get slaughtered.’
By comparison, some Republicans have said that the Biden administration has not been vocal enough in its support for Israel. In a tweet, Donald Trump’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that ‘a weak foreign policy emboldens terrorists and makes the world less safe’.
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that the Biden administration had recently approved a $375 million arms sale to Israel.
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