Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s rockstar finance minister, is in hot water.
The anti-austerity economics professor who’s now running Greece’s finance ministry said this weekend that he regrets the photo shoot he did for Paris Match. Pictures of the finance minister eating and drinking wine with his wife on their roof terrace provoked mockery on social media.
But Varoufakis also had two cringe-worthy interviews over the weekend.
Things started to go badly when CNBC asked him if he had become a liability to the Greek government. You can watch the whole video, and there’s a transcript below.
CNBC: You’ve taken some heat in the Greek press in the last 24 hours for saying you’ll do whatever it takes as far as a deal in Europe is concerned, and the suggestion is you’d renege on promises…
Varoufakis: We never said we’d renege on any promises… We’ve already started legislating on the humanitarian crisis… The press has a field day these days concocting stories that have the purpose of creating noise, what we need now is peace and quiet in order to get down to work to put Greece back on the path to recovery
CNBC: But you’re at fault for that, is Paris Match a PR disaster in hindsight?
Varoufakis: You will allow me not to comment on particular stories in the press.
CNBC: But you put it in the press.
Varoufakis: (pause) You will allow me not to comment on particular stories in the press.
CNBC: Are you a liability though, for this government? Because you are trying to promote a serious message, and these things are distracting.
Varoufakis: Are you a liability for your channel?
CNBC: I try not to be.
Varoufakis: So do I
At that point Varoufakis walked away, while CNBC’s interviewer was still trying to ask a question.
Varoufakis was also on German TV on Sunday night, and addressed a question as to whether he once showed the German government the finger in a video. Varoufakis says the footage is doctored — you’re welcome to judge for yourselves — from about two minutes in.