Senator slammed for blaming Biden for the price of gas – and suggesting Americans have to win the lottery 'first'
Sen. John Kennedy (MSNBC)

A Republican U.S. Senator is being called an "embarrassment to public service," among other critiques, after suggesting the price of gas is so high many Americans would need to win the lottery to fill up their gas tanks – and blaming President Joe Biden instead of Big Oil and OPEC+.

“If many Americans won the lottery tomorrow, the first thing they would do is fill up their gas tank. I’m not sure that President Biden understands that,” Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana told reporters Wednesday.

AAA, which tracks the price of gas daily, says the national average for gas today is $3.514. That's far from the highest recorded price of $4.114, which was nearly 14 years ago, in 2008.

Presidents don't set gas prices and have little control over them.

Just like the price of tomatoes, beef, houses, clothes, and cable TV, presidents don't control those costs in a free market capitalist democracy. Big Oil decides the price of gas, frequently claiming international political events and weather as reasons to raise it, while less dramatically lowering prices when disruptions or events return to normal.

"Increasing the global supply of crude oil would lower prices," NPR notes. "But U.S. presidents don't have a direct way to do this. American oil companies answer to shareholders and owners, not to the government."

Sen. Kennedy likes to play "common man," rarely mentioning his magna cum laude B.A. in political science, philosophy, and economics from Vanderbilt where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He rarely mentions his two law degrees – including one from Oxford. He rarely mentions his numerous published books and articles spanning topics including constitutional law and liability law. And he rarely mentions his reported $6.4 million net worth (as of 2019.)

Noted political scientist Norman Ornstein responded to Sen. Kennedy's remarks by calling him "an embarrassment to public service."

Some more responses: