Biden Threatens To Beat Up Journalist and Other Highlights From Time Magazine Interview

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
June 4, 2024

President Joe Biden sat down with journalists from Time magazine last week for an extensive interview about foreign policy and other issues heading into the 2024 election. We read the official transcript so you don't have to. Here are some of our favorite moments:

1) Biden threatens to beat up a journalist who questions his age

The notoriously temperamental president got a little agitated when asked about the vast majority of Americans who express concern that Biden, 81, is too old and lacks the "mental sharpness" to serve as president.

"I can do it better than anybody you know," Biden told the much younger journalist. "You're looking at me, I can take you too."

Biden has a long history of threatening behavior toward members of the press.

2) Biden accuses Russia of invading Russia (twice) 

While attempting to discuss the war in Ukraine, Biden referred to Russian president Vladimir Putin's decision to send military forces "into Russia" and "into Moscow."

3) Biden gets his dictators mixed up

The president said he "made it clear to Putin from the very beginning" that the United States would reciprocate against the protectionist economic policies of the Chinese government, led by Xi Jinping. "And I said, so you're gonna do that to us? (unintelligible) We're going to do the same thing if you want to invest here," Biden told Time, according to the transcript.

4) Biden smears an ally 

Asked if Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was deliberately prolonging the war in Gaza to advance his own political career, Biden said he had no comment before proceeding to comment at length and validating the accusations against Netanyahu. "I'm not going to comment on that," he said. "There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion."

5) Biden explains what Hamas could do to end the war

"Hamas could end this tomorrow. Hamas could say (unintelligible) and done, period."

6) Biden forgets what year it is 

The president boasted about his "very candid relationship" with Xi. In this case he was actually referring to the Chinese dictator and not some other authoritarian, but Biden appeared confused about his job title. "I've spent more time with Xi Jinping than any leader in the world, over 90 hours alone with him since I've been vice president," he said.

7) ???????

During a rambling response to a question about his second-term foreign policy goals, Biden outlined his plans to help Africa and other countries in "what they are calling the south now." He also recalled working with Dick Lugar, the deceased former U.S. senator, to stop deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in the late 1980s.

"We, on the climate side, have come along and we've done everything that is reasonably—and three other countries are the reason we're in the problem we're in," Biden said. "But what happens if all of a sudden, on the Amazon, they're starting to clear, vast swaths of land, cut down forests, etc. Back when Dick Lugar was alive, he and I started something back in the '90s, where we said—late '80s, excuse me—where we said to, in the Amazon, they said, look, if you, we'll make a deal with you Brazil. You don't cut your forest, we'll pay you not to do it. We'll pay you not to do it, we have to prevent— And that's why we're working so hard to make sure Angola can be in a position that they have more solar capacity than almost any place in the world, to help that whole continent."

Got that?

8) Biden embarrasses Obama bro

The interview took place a month after former president Donald Trump sat down with Time, a decision widely mocked by savvy Democrats such as Dan Pfeiffer. "You really have to wonder how the supposedly smart and strategic Trump campaign let Trump sit down for an 83-minute interview with Time Magazine, a publication that has little reach and influence in the post-print era," the Obama bro snarked.