‘Shush-up!’ Biden shuts down Aussie reporter for yelling through debt ceiling questions – and says he’s ‘not at all’ worried about defaulting after White House claims Republicans are trying to push a ‘wishlist of extreme MAGA priorities’
President Joe Biden told an Australian reporter to ‘shush-up’ after being interrupted answering questions at the G7 in Hiroshima about the stalled debt talks. Biden was having a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese – after cancelling a planned trip to the nation due to the looming debt crisis. The president told American reporters that he was ‘not at all’ worried about current state of the talks, which hit a hiccup overnight while he was sleeping. ‘It’s a negotiation. It goes in stages. And what happened in the first meetings weren’t all that progressive, the second ones were, third one was and then what happens is carriers go back to principles and say this is what we’re talking about,’ Biden explained. ‘And then people put down new claims. I still believe we can avoid a default and we’ll get something decent done,’ the president added.
As he was engaging with the U.S. press, an Australian reporter in the room was screaming through the Q&A, with Biden eventually telling him to stand down. ‘Shush-up, OK!’ the president hollered. Earlier, White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt hammered Republicans after debt talks broke down overnight while Biden was sleeping. In a statement, LaBolt said Republicans were ‘taking the economy hostage and pushing us to the brink of default’ and ‘recycling a barely watered down version of their extreme budget proposal.’ He added that Biden would ‘not accept a wishlist of extreme MAGA priorities,’ though stated there was still a path forward. During his meeting with Albanese, Biden didn’t directly answer a question about whether he believed Republicans were negotiating in good faith.
Earlier Saturday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed optimism that a debt deal could still be made. ‘So the president is confident that there is a path forward,’ she said from Japan around 10 a.m. local time, adding that Biden was ‘all over this’ and she expected him to be ‘updated momentarily by the team.’ But she added that the White House and Republicans are still not seeing eye-to-eye. ‘So look, there’s no question we have serious differences. And this is going to continue to be a difficult conversation,’ Jean-Pierre said. Back in Washington, Rep. Garret Graves followed White House negotiators out of a Friday meeting in the speaker’s office and told reporters they had pressed pause on negotiations because they were ‘not productive’ and the Biden administration was making ‘unreasonable requests.’
‘Yeah we got a pause,’ House Speaker Kevin McCarthy confirmed to reporters, only one day after he expressed hope there could be a deal on the floor by next week. Biden left a G7 leaders dinner early Friday night, with Jean-Pierre saying that the ‘plan’ was for him to receive an update from his team back in Washington. However, the initial hiccup occurred around 1:30 a.m. local time, when the president was snoozing away. The negotiations briefly resumed for an hour and a half in Washington Friday night, but no progress was made. ‘The president’s team is going to continue to work hard toward a reasonable bipartisan solution that can pass the House and the Senate because we need Republicans and Democrats on this,’ Jean-Pierre said.
There is now less than two weeks before the Treasury could run out of funds to pay the nation’s bills, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen putting the deadline at June 1. The debt drama in Washington has cast a cloud over Biden’s appearance at the G7 in Hiroshima. It already caused him to cut the trip short. He was supposed to leave Hiroshima Monday and travel to Papua New Guinea and then onto Australia for a Quad meeting. He’s now flying home late Sunday after reshuffling his schedule, including adding a Quad members meeting to it Saturday night. ‘It is definitely a subject of interest here at the G7,’ National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said at the Saturday morning briefing. ‘Countries want to have a sense of how these negotiations are going to play out.’ He added, however, that ‘this is not generating alarm.’ Read the full story:
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