Robert Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, has apologised for an expletive-laced tirade detailed in a new book, which included him insulting the US First Lady.
The comments were made while Mr Gibbs was arguing with Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser, about media reports that Michelle Obama had described living in the White House as “hell”, New York Times journalist Jodi Kantor claimed in book The Obamas.
Ms Jarrett told Mr Gibbs that Mrs Obama was unhappy with his efforts to downplay the remark and the former press secretary overreacted, Ms Kantor wrote in the book, which is released today.
“F--- this, that’s not right. I’ve been killing myself on this. Where’s this coming from?” he reportedly shouted at Ms Jarrett, adding that she “didn’t know what the f--- [Jarrett was] talking about”.
When the adviser told Mr Gibbs that the First Lady wouldn’t like the way he was speaking, Mr Gibbs shouted “Then f---- her too!” according to Ms Kantor. He then stormed out of the room.
Mr Gibbs later told Ms Kantor that he “stopped taking [Jarrett] at seriously as an adviser to the president of the United States”.
Both aides insisted they had a good working relationship but did not deny having had the argument. However, Mr Gibbs said he regretted reacting as strongly as he did.
“In any high-pressure work environment there are occasional arguments and disagreements and that is certainly true of the White House,” he told Politico. “I regret speaking in anger and regret that this disagreement became so public. But those moments pale in comparison to the important issues facing our country and will not overshadow the vital work Valerie and I will do together as part of a team in 2012.”
Mr Gibbs left the White House one year ago but will play a role in President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012.