So much for message discipline.
President Biden repeatedly disparaged Afghanistan as a “God-forsaken place” Friday and jokingly threatened to use “my shotgun” to protect the US economy against a recession during a rambling speech in San Diego.
The president, who turns 80 later this month, also mused about his late father returning as a ghost to “strangle me” and confused Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett with General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
“A lot of you have been to Afghanistan. I’ve been to every part of it. It’s a God-forsaken place — it’s a God-forsaken place,” Biden said, after using the term one other time while recounting being part of a 2008 congressional trip that got stranded in the snow.
Referring to entire countries in negative terms can cause offense. Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, for example, sparked weeks of outrage by allegedly referring in private to economically undeveloped nations as “s-thole” countries.
Biden went on to tout data released Friday showing the US economy added 261,000 jobs in October.
“The New York Times … called the report the Goldilocks report. I have my shotgun waiting for the wolf,” he joked — despite the fact that his chief spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, said Thursday that the White House was so confident in the economy it is holding “no meetings” to prepare for a potential downturn.
Much of Biden’s speech appeared to deviate from his prepared remarks, which were supposed to focus on the passage this year’s $280 billion bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act.
The president also repeated a claim that he spoke with one of the scientists who discovered insulin about his decision to oppose it being patented — despite the fact that doing so would have been chronologically impossible — while describing his efforts to cap consumer costs.
“I spoke to the guy who invented the insulin. He said he didn’t patent it because he wanted available for everybody,” Biden said Friday, repeating a claim he made on Tuesday.
Dr. Frederick Banting and professor John James Richard Macleod won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1923 for their discovery of insulin two years prior. While both men did refuse to put their names on the insulin patent because they felt it was unethical to restrict its use, Banting died in 1941 and Macleod in 1935.
Biden was born in 1942.
Two other doctors were involved in the discovery of insulin, but both are named on the patent, contrary to Biden’s claim. James Collip died in 1965, the year Biden entered law school, and Charles Best died in 1979. Collip and Best transferred the patent rights to the University of Toronto for $1.
The president also pledged Friday to have a “come to the Lord talk with oil companies pretty soon” about lowering gas prices and vowed to forge forward with the development of renewable energy sources.
“We’re gonna be shutting these [coal] plants down all across America, and having wind and solar,” he said.
Before departing for a flight to Chicago, Biden also told his audience that there were “bright spots” in the news, including low unemployment — despite inflation remaining highly elevated at 8.2% in September, the most recent month for which data is available.
“As president I will not accept the argument that says that our problem is that too many Americans are finding good jobs,” Biden said. “My father would come down from heaven and strangle me.”
The California stop continued the president’s trend of campaigning for the 2022 midterm elections in reliably Democratic states. Later Friday, Biden was due to address a reception in deep-blue Chicago before campaigning in Yonkers on behalf of embattled New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Sunday.
In between, the president will return to his birth state of Pennsylvania to rally for Democrats with his onetime boss, former President Barack Obama.