In what should come as a surprise to no one, President Biden is a complete asshole.
As the rest of the media turns on the Big Guy over corruption scandals, coverups, and ghosting his 4-year-old granddaughter, several staffers have revealed to Axios that behind closed doors, Joe Biden is a prick who has "such a quick-trigger temper that some aides try to avoid meeting alone with him," adding "Some take a colleague, almost as a shield against a solo blast."
- The president's admonitions include: "God dammit, how the f**k don't you know this?!," "Don't f**king bullsh*t me!" and "Get the f**k out of here!" — according to current and former Biden aides who have witnessed and been on the receiving end of such outbursts. -Axios
According to one administration official, "no one is safe."
Biden aides still talk about how the president lost his shit at "COVID Czar" Jeff Zients in late 2021 when there was a shortate of testing kits as the Omicron varient spread. A spokesperson Zients, now Biden's chief of staff, told Axios: "I'm not going to speak to what internal convos may or may not have happened between Jeff and the president."
"There's no question that the Biden temper is for real. It may not be as volcanic as Bill Clinton’s, but it's definitely there," said Chris Whipple, author of "The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House."
Whipple quotes former White House spox Jen Psaki as saying "I said to [Biden] multiple times, 'I'll know we have a really good, trusting relationship when you yell at me the first time."
"Psaki wouldn't have to wait long," he wrote.
More via Axios:
Biden's temper comes in the form of angry interrogations rather than erratic tantrums.
- He'll grill aides on topics until it's clear they don’t know the answer to a question — a routine that some see as meticulous and others call "stump the chump" or "stump the dummy."
- Being yelled at by the president has become an internal initiation ceremony in this White House, aides say — if Biden doesn't yell at you, it could be a sign he doesn't respect you.
Ted Kaufman, Biden's longtime chief of staff when the future president represented Delaware in the Senate, told Axios that Biden's process is policy-driven, and has made him a strong executive.
- "If there is something that's not in the brief, he's going to find it," he said. "It's not to embarrass people, it's because he wants to get to the right decision. Most people who have worked for him like the fact that he challenges them and gets them to a better decision."
Some Biden aides argue that the president's rages reflect his high expectations for his staff.
- "Speaking Biden" is a particular skill, they said. It can take years to learn to navigate his moodiness, and anticipate what information he's going to ask for in a briefing.
- Some administration officials, many of whom went to elite schools, struggle with Biden's demand to ditch wonky, acronym-filled language and brief him as if they were talking to a close family member who isn't in the D.C. bubble.
- Biden's defenders acknowledge he can be tough. But they also say he can be more generous and compassionate than many powerful politicians and can make them feel like family. That's partly why so many aides have worked with Biden for decades, and go in and out of his orbit, they say.
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One former Biden campaign and Senate aide, Jeff Connaughton, wrote about Biden's notorious temper in 2012 in the book; "The Payoff: Why Wall Street Wins."
Back then, he wrote that Biden was an "egomaniacal autocrat … determined to manage his staff through fear."
In one 2008 incident, Biden snapped at a 23-year-old fundraising staffer who got into the car with him.
"Okay, senator, time to do some fundraising calls," said the aide, to which Biden responded: "Get the f**k out of the car."
Connaughton told Axios that Biden "hides his sharper edge to promote his folksy Uncle Joe image — which is why, when flashes of anger break through, it seems so out of public character."