A spokesperson for the president pushed back against a question from Fox News’ Peter Doocy
Casa branca spokesperson John Kirby rejected the premise of a question from Notícias da raposa‘ Peter Doocy after the reporter suggested that President Joe Biden has “a lot of free time” this week as he recovers from a bout of Covid.
Mr Doocy asked Mr Kirby in a press briefing on Thursday why Mr Biden has not scheduled a call with Chinese president Xi Jinping considering that, as he believed, Mr Biden had plenty of available time while in isolation.
“He doesn’t have free time,” Mr Kirby responded. “He’s been working all the way through his illness, quite frankly, Peter, so it’s a little bit insulting.”
Mr Doocy interjected that his question was not insulting, but Mr Kirby doubled down.
“You suggested he had a lot of free time as if he’s not doing anything, and you know that’s not the case, Mr Doocy. Now look, as for a call with President Xi, I don’t have anything on the president’s schedule to speak to,” Mr Kirby said. “If ever the president felt like a call with President Xi was the appropriate way to respond or that it would have an effect and an outcome that he wants to achieve, he certainly would be willing to do that.”
Mr Biden has spent the week in isolation after he tested positive for Covid for a second time in an apparent rebound case after taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid. The White House has said that Mr Biden, who experienced relatively mild symptoms during his initial bout with the virus, is not experiencing any symptoms this time.
The US’s relationship with China has been under scrutiny this week as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a member of Mr Biden’s party, because the highest-ranking US official in decades to Visita Taiwan. Ms Pelosi’s visit in support of Taiwanese democracy has prompted an outcry and a series of military exercises from the Chinese government.
O New York Times relatado that Biden administration officials warned Ms Pelosi that the trip could have serious diplomatic consequences throughout Asia, but that the Speaker pressed ahead anyway. Mr Xi has long aimed to unify Taiwan with China.
Mr Kirby noted that Mr Biden has already spoken with Mr Xi on five separate occasions during his presidency, Incluindo at the end of July, and is not “afraid” of getting back in touch should the need arise. Mr Biden and Mr Xi’s relationship dates back years, through Mr Biden’s tenure as Vice President.
“If a call is the right answer, I’m sure that President Biden will do that,” Mr Kirby said.