President Biden was widely criticized on social media after telling a reporter that he “can’t do much right now” about soaring gas prices in the United States while also pinning the blame on Russia.
“It’s going to go up,” Biden told a reporter when asked about gas prices on Tuesday. “Can’t do much right now. Russia is responsible.”
The comment was immediately picked up by conservatives on social media including a Twitter account for the Republican National Committee.
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“‘Can’t do much right now’ isn’t an answer that’s going to work with the American people. People expect the President to do something,” communications expert Beverly Hallberg tweeted.
“Humiliating display of American weakness,” Abigail Marone, press secretary for Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, tweeted.
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“‘Can’t do much right now’ will be in political ads all throughout the 2022 cycle,” political strategist Erin Perrine tweeted.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.
Biden’s comment comes as gas prices in the United States hit a record high this week as Russia’s invasion into Ukraine continues to disrupt global oil markets.
Biden has been criticized by both sides of the aisle for high gas prices, which have risen sharply under his administration even before Russia’s invasion, and many have publicly called for him to open up oil and gas drilling in the United States to lessen the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
Many have pointed to Biden’s decision to halt the Keystone XL pipeline immediately after taking office as one of the ways his administration has forced the United States to turn to countries like Russia for its energy needs.
“The United States imports nearly 600,000 barrels of oil a day from Russia—an amount that could have been made up for by the more than 800,000 barrels of oil the Keystone XL pipeline is capable of delivering each day if the Biden administration hadn’t stood in the way,” Republican Sen. Tim Scott wrote on Fox News last week. “As Vladimir Putin conducts his evil and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, now more than ever, we must cut off our energy dependence on Russia while turning up our energy production here at home.”
After weeks of pressure, the Biden administration announced the suspension of Russian oil being imported into the United States on Tuesday but dismissed those who say that energy output in the United States must also be ramped up.
Biden said Tuesday that it is “simply not true” that his policies “are holding back domestic energy production.” Biden signed many executive orders during his first days in the Oval Office, one of which “paused” leasing for oil and natural gas on federal lands. Biden’s administration has been sued over the lease issue, lost, but continues to pursue its pause on leases.
Another Biden executive order canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. That pipeline would have been near completion by now, according to energy experts, and would have carried oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas coast for refining and sale.
“Keystone would have absolutely made a difference because it would have lowered the cost of Canadian crude to get to the markets that it needs to get to in order to be refined and shipped to be utilized here in the United States,” Jason Modglin, president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, told Fox Business. “And so by canceling Keystone, it artificially raises the price of Canadian oil and allows for the Russians to undercut that.” Biden has now banned Russian oil from the US, but the Keystone XL was not and will not be completed.