search
Road rage

Biden jokes he’ll run over reporter if asked again about Israel

After week in which US officials bombarded with questions on Gaza at every press appearance, journalist’s raising of matter again at electric car test-drive seems to irk president

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

US President Joe Biden drives the new electric Ford F-150 Lightning at the Ford Dearborn Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan on May 18, 2021. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP)
US President Joe Biden drives the new electric Ford F-150 Lightning at the Ford Dearborn Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan on May 18, 2021. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

US President Joe Biden is starting to get sick of questions from reporters about the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza.

A reporter primed the president as to whether she could ask about the matter as Biden was in the middle of test driving a new Ford electric truck during a visit to the company’s plant in Michigan.

“No, you can’t — not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it,” he responded, before smiling and adding: “I’m only teasing.” He then zoomed off into the distance.

The American administration has issued dozens of statements in various forms on the matter and has had its senior officials and spokespeople bombarded with questions at nearly every press appearance for the past week.

Biden has faced growing pressure from within the Democratic party and allies abroad to take a more active role in bringing about an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

After a week of fighting during which he repeatedly defended Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas rocket fire, Biden on Monday “expressed support for a ceasefire” on a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, critics have said more must be done to coax Israel into agreeing to hold its fire, while lamenting that the administration’s de-prioritization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a mistake.

The son of a car salesman, Biden is known for his love of cars, a fact that featured prominently in some of the Obama White House’s public messaging when he was vice president and also in his 2020 run for president. Supporters displayed campaign paraphernalia declaring they were “ridin’ with Biden,” complete with a stylized image of Biden behind the wheel of a convertible, wearing aviators and a broad grin.

As vice president, he once lamented to Car and Driver that the Secret Service wouldn’t allow him to drive his treasured 1967 Corvette — “the one thing I hate about this job.” The same is true now that he’s president. But for a few great moments on Tuesday, that all was forgotten.

AP contributed to this report

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed