CNN’s Jake Tapper rapped President Joe Biden following his speech to the nation Monday afternoon for engaging in a lot of “finger-pointing” over the calamitous situation in Afghanistan.
Picking up after Biden finished his address, Tapper began summarizing it by first noting that the president was “forced to speak to the nation” about the “worsening crisis in Afghanistan.”
The CNN host went on to say that “the president stated that he stands squarely behind the decision he made to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan, even though he has, in fact, been forced to send roughly 6,000 back in.”
Continuing, Tapper said “if anything,” Biden feels justified in creating “this foreign policy and humanitarian disaster” with the U.S. pullout “given the fleeing of Afghan politicians from the country and the collapse of the Afghan military.”
“I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden said on Monday. “That’s why we’re still there.”
Biden also appeared to blame former President Donald Trump, claiming that he “inherited” a bad peace deal from his predecessor and suggesting that he was powerless to change it though he has completely reversed nearly all of Trump’s border policies and has adopted his own foreign policy positions in other areas.
In June 2020, Biden tweeted, “It’s hard to believe this has to be said, but unlike this president, I’ll do my job and take responsibility. I won’t blame others. And I’ll never forget that the job isn’t about me — it’s about you.”
And yet, as Tapper pointed out, Biden didn’t take responsibility for withdrawing from Afghanistan in a manner that left U.S. allies in the country exposed and endangered lives as vengeful Taliban forces moved in.
“The president said the buck stops with him but in fact the speech was full of finger-pointing and blame, especially for the Afghans, even saying that while the U.S. would be working to rescue those Americans and U.S. allies who needed to be saved, he claimed part of the reason why the U.S. did not save sooner Afghan allies” who worked with the U.S. military such as translators “who fear being slaughtered by the Taliban — they didn’t act sooner, the president said, because some Afghans claimed [they] did not want to leave earlier because they were hopeful about a new Afghan government.”
Tapper also noted that Biden said the Afghan government discouraged the U.S. from engineering “a mass exodus for fear of triggering a crisis of confidence.”
While noting that Biden’s focus was on explaining why it was time to leave after two decades, “he did not really get into or accept any blame for the catastrophic exit that we have been watching on television the last several days,” Tapper added.
Following the address, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates focused on how Biden said, “the buck stops with me.”
Also, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who oddly took a week’s vacation as the situation in Afghanistan was deteriorating rapidly over the weekend, defended her boss, tweeting that Biden “made clear that he will not ask Americans to fight and die in a war that the Afghan military is not willing to fight for itself.”
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