Prior to the White House press briefing today, reporters openly wondered who would drop the word “chickenshit” at the White House.
Associated Press reporter Darlene Superville was the first to ask about the comments, asking Earnest about it, referring to it as the “Chicken-dot-dot-dot-dot” comment.
CNN’s Jim Acosta referred to the comment as a word that “rhymes with Chicken spit.”
The word was the heaviest on White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s mind after an Obama official used the word with the Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg to describe Israeli Prime minister Bibi Netanyahu.
Finally it was Reuters reporter Roberta Rampton, who dropped the full quote, asking Earnest if the White House was committed to punishing the administration official who made the comment.
“Is the White House committed to seeking out who made these comments, the “chickenshit” comment, and punishing that person?” she asked.
By the time of the press briefing, Republican leaders were already signaling their outrage.
“So, now senior members of Obama Admin are openly attacking our ally, Prime Minister @netanyahu, calling him an epithet for poultry manure?” wondered Ted Cruz on Twitter. “POTUS should find out who said this, and fire them. Anything else would be…well, the unnamed official put it best.”Speaker John Boehner also weighed in on the matter, issuing a lengthy statement in response to the comments.
“The president sets the tone for his administration,” Boehner said. “He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration, or he does not. It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on.”
When asked to respond to Boeher’s comments, Earnest reminded reporters that the Speaker “has a penchant for using some pretty salty language himself.”
“It’s a little rich to have a lecture in profanity from the Speaker of the House” he said.
Earnest added that the comments did not reflect the position of the president.
“Comments like that do not represent the administration’s view and are counter-productive,” he said.
Earnest feigned ignorance when asked if he know who made the comment.
“I will say as a general matter that I am not aware of who made those comments,” he said. “I do not know if the President knows who made those comments; I would be surprised if he did.”