A PBS News reporter faced mockery online Monday, after she told President Biden he had more foreign policy experience "than any president who has ever held this office."
This flattery came as Biden was defending his controversial remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin to White House reporters. While in Poland, Biden said Putin "cannot remain in power." The White House immediately walked back the president's provocative remark, but it drew international headlines, with journalists and political leaders slamming the unscripted comment as a dangerous blunder that could invite escalation in the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Monday, Biden defended himself before reporters at the White House. Fox’s Peter Doocy sparred with Biden over his administration walking back a string of controversial comments, suggesting the U.S. would send troops to Ukraine if Russia uses chemical weapons, and suggesting regime change in Russia. However, the president claimed his comments were misinterpreted and denied his administration had walked back anything controversial.
Immediately after this exchange, PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins flattered the president with an unusual comment.
"I still want to get back to your original words that he cannot remain in power. Can you help us understand? You have more foreign policy experience than any president who's ever held this office," she claimed.
Critics blasted the reporter for being ignorant on American history.
"John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and George Bush Sr. all had more foreign policy experience," Doug Sheridan, founder of EnergyPoint Research, wrote.
Senior writer for National Review, Dan McLaughlin tweeted, "Dwight Eisenhower served between 1943 & 1952 as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Military Governor of Germany, and NATO Supreme Commander. Some may recall this as a time of significant foreign policy events in Europe."
Others noted that despite Biden’s decades in government, he’s frequently been wrong on his foreign policy takes.
President Obama's former defense secretary Robert Gates famously called Biden, "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."
Despite the compliment, Desjardins continued to press the president to consider the gravity of his unscripted comment.
"Whether those are your personal feelings or your feelings as president, do you understand why people would believe you as someone commanding one of the largest nuclear arsenals in the world saying someone cannot remain in power is a statement of U.S. policy? Also are you concerned about propaganda use of those remarks by the Russians?" she asked Biden.
But the president claimed he wasn't concerned. "Nobody believes we're going to take down —I was talking about taking down Putin. Nobody would believe that," Biden told the reporter, adding that he was simply expressing his "moral outrage" at Putin.