White House hits at ‘insulting’ question saying Biden has ‘free time’ in isolation to phone China

‘That’s insulting’: White House slaps back at question saying Biden has ‘free time’ in isolation and could have called Xi Jinping to warn him against aggression

  • ‘He’s got a lot of free time up there in the residence this week,’ quipped Peter Doocy of Fox News 
  • He asked communications coordinator John Kirby why Biden hadn’t phoned Chinese President Xi Jinping amid tensions 
  • ‘He’s been working through his illness, Peter, so that’s a little bit insulting,’ Kirby told him
  • Biden tested positive again for COVID-19 and was in his fifth day of isolation Thursday 

White House spokesman John Kirby slapped down an ‘insulting’ question Thursday that President Biden had time on his hands as he isolates after repeatedly testing positive for the coronavirus.

Kirby, the communications coordinator for the National Security Council, took the question as China took a series of aggressive actions after Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.

That included live fire exercises, air incursions across the Taiwan Strait, and other moves.

'He¿s been working through his illness, Peter, so that¿s a little bit insulting,' White House communications coordinator John Kirby said when asked why President Biden hadn't phoned Chinese President Xi Jinping

‘He’s been working through his illness, Peter, so that’s a little bit insulting,’ White House communications coordinator John Kirby said when asked why President Biden hadn’t phoned Chinese President Xi Jinping

Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy wanted to know why Biden wouldn’t call Chinese President Xi Jinping, who Biden regularly says he has spent hour upon hour within and knows perhaps better than any other world leader does.

‘I know you said there is not a call scheduled with XI. Is there a reason why?’ Doocy asked him.

‘Because President Biden’s known him for decades. He’s got a lot of free time up there in the residence this week,’ he needled, after earlier saying Biden was much ‘tougher’ on Russia than he has been on China.

Biden phoned Xi Jinping before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit

Biden phoned Xi Jinping before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit

'He's got a lot of free time up there in the residence this week,' Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Kirby

‘He’s got a lot of free time up there in the residence this week,’ Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Kirby

Biden announced from isolation at the White House the killing of Al Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri

Biden announced from isolation at the White House the killing of Al Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri

Kirby, a retired rear admiral and former State and Pentagon spokesman, is just the latest White House official to spar with Doocy from the podium

Kirby, a retired rear admiral and former State and Pentagon spokesman, is just the latest White House official to spar with Doocy from the podium

‘He doesn’t have free time,” Kirby shot back to Doocy, who wanted to know if there was a reason he didn’t 

‘He can’t just pick up the phone and call.’

‘He’s been working through his illness, Peter, so that’s a little bit insulting,” Kirby told him. 

‘It’s not insulting that someone who is isolating by himself,’ Doocy pushed back. 

“It is. It is,” Kirby told him. 

‘You suggested he’s had a lot of free time as if he’s not doing anything and you know that’s not the case, Mr. Doocy,’ said Kirby. Using Doocy’s surname. Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had frequent clashes with Doocy, but usually called him simply ‘Peter.’

As for a call with Xi, Kirby said he didn’t have any information to speak to.

‘He’s talked to Xi five times. It’s not like he’s afraid to call President Xi. If a call’s the right answer, I’m sure that President Biden will do that.’ He said lines of communication were ‘still open’ with Beijing.

The back-and-forth came on a day when Biden held a ‘virtual’ event with business and labor leaders, but didn’t otherwise appear publicly on his fifth day of ‘rebound’ isolation. 

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