President Joe Biden blamed “Putin’s price hike” for record-high inflation Thursday, reiterating the White House’s new catch phrase.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) soared to another four-decade high in February, with food and energy prices growing exponentially, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Biden described the latest economic data as “the tale of two recoveries,” touting unemployment claims while putting the blame squarely on Russian President Vladimir Putin for inflation.
“Today’s inflation report is a reminder that Americans’ budgets are being stretched by price increases and families are starting to feel the impacts of Putin’s price hike,” Biden declared in a statement. “A large contributor to inflation this month was an increase in gas and energy prices as markets reacted to Putin’s aggressive actions.”
Energy prices reportedly increased 25.6% and food prices grew 7.9% on a year-over-year basis, according to the BLS.
“As I have said from the start, there will be costs at home as we impose crippling sanctions in response to Putin’s unprovoked war, but Americans can know this: the costs we are imposing on Putin and his cronies are far more devastating than the costs we are facing,” Biden said Thursday.
“Today’s economic data tells the tale of two recoveries,” Biden says, blaming the inflation report on “Putin’s price hike.” pic.twitter.com/Au0BHejXLo
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) March 10, 2022
Since announcing a ban on U.S. imports of Russian energy Tuesday, the Biden administration has branded rising gas prices as “Putin’s price hike.” Gas prices have consistently risen throughout Biden’s presidency. (RELATED: ‘Putin’s Price Hike’: White House Rebrands Rising Gas Prices)
The president also reiterated Thursday his vow to fight “to bring down the everyday prices that are squeezing Americans,” noting that the U.S. and allies agreed earlier in March to release 60 million barrels of oil from strategic reserves.
Michael Tran, RBC Capital Markets’ managing director of global energy strategy, criticized this move as insufficient. Tran described it as “a bit of a band-aid solution” and said it would not be “enough to cool off the market,” CNN reported.
The president’s promise to bring down prices coincides with mixed messaging on whether he believes he can help lower gas prices. Upon announcing the ban on Russian energy imports due to the invasion of Ukraine, Biden promised to do “everything” possible “to minimize” rising prices.
Hours later, Biden told reporters that he “can’t do much right now.” The White House appeared to shrug off this comment from the president, with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters Wednesday that Biden’s comments during “short gaggles … are not always super comprehensive.”