Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer has blasted Joe Biden for his “offhanded” response to a question by the media asking if the President would still call Xi Jinping a dictator.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the APEC summit to discuss ways to manage strategic competition between the two global superpowers and improve lines of communication.
At the end of a press briefing on Wednesday, local time, President Biden was asked if he’d continue labelling his Chinese counterpart as a dictator, a term he’d used earlier in the year.
“Well, look, he is,” he said.
“I mean, he’s a dictator in the sense that he is the guy who runs a country that is a communist country that’s based on a form of government totally different than ours anyway (inaudible)”.
A Chinese Foreign Minister spokesperson said the comments were “extremely incorrect and irresponsible political manipulation”.
“If the entire goal was to get the relationship back on track, which is pathetic that’s what it was, you just blew it by an offhanded comment,” Mr Spicer told Sky News host James Morrow.
“Yes, Xi Jinping is a dictator, don’t get me wrong, but the idea that Biden blew it.”