President Joe Biden used colorful language in private to criticize Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to an NBC News report on Monday.
"[Biden’s] descriptions of his dealings with Netanyahu are peppered with contemptuous references to Netanyahu as ‘this guy,’ these people said," NBC News reported, citing people familiar with his private conversations. "And in at least three recent instances, Biden has called Netanyahu an ‘asshole,’ according to three of the people directly familiar with his comments."
Biden reportedly complained that Netanyahu had been "giving me hell" and "killing me lately," calling the Israeli prime minister "a pain in my ass." Frustrated with what he saw as Netanyahu’s unwillingness to agree to a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, Biden said Netanyahu was "doing a disservice … of late," per the NBC report.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council, however, denied that Biden had made private comments disparaging the Israeli prime minister. "The president has been clear where he disagrees with Prime Minister Netanyahu, but this is a decades-long relationship that is respectful in public and in private," the spokesperson told NBC.
The NBC report came a week after Politico reported Biden has privately called the Israeli prime minister a "bad fucking guy." Biden spokesman Andrew Bates refuted the allegation, telling Politico that "the president did not say that, nor would he."
Netanyahu, meanwhile, praised Biden on Sunday during an interview on ABC, hailing the 81-year-old president as "very clear and very focused." Biden has come under renewed scrutiny over his mental fitness after a special counsel report last week described him as a "sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory."