President Joe Biden could not have been more clear that he’s ready to move on from the debacle of his own making in Afghanistan, as he spoke from the White House on Tuesday and shuffled the crisis to the bottom of the pile, opting to first promote his “Build Back Better” program.
The president made it a priority to celebrate House Democrats passing on a party-line vote the $3.5 trillion human infrastructure bill framework, before commenting on the crisis in Kabul. When he did speak, Biden offered little beyond “empty words,” as was characterized by Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin.
“We are currently on pace to finish by August the 31st. The sooner we can finish the better. Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops,” Biden said.
Never mind that a host of people, including U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chair of the House Intelligence Committee, have said that it’s unlikely the U.S. will meet the deadline Biden set in getting Americans out.
Biden said he asked the Pentagon and the State Department for contingency plans to “adjust the timetable should that become necessary,” and fretted over a possibility of ISIS attacking at the Kabul airport — as if the Taliban are somehow a better option.
“Thus far, the Taliban have been taking steps to work with us so we can get our people out, but it’s a tenuous situation,” the president said. We already had some gun fighting breakout. We run a serious risk of it breaking down as time goes on. Second, the G7 leaders, and the leaders of the EU, NATO, and the UN all agreed that we will stand united in our approach to the Taliban.”
In reality, the G7 leaders pressed Biden to extend the evacuation deadline.
Perhaps, the most telling moment of Biden’s speech came at the end. As he wrapped up his remarks, a reporter called out: “Can you guarantee every American will be out before the troops leave?”
Having already turned his back, President Biden walked away ignoring the question.
Dan Scavino, former White House deputy chief of staff under Trump, shared a clip of what proves to be an enduring image of Biden throughout the crisis:
This is an F-U to the American People…pic.twitter.com/HCuToxPC0z
— Dan Scavino🇺🇸🦅 (@DanScavino) August 25, 2021
U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, a former Navy SEAL who lost his right eye while fighting in Afghanistan, slammed Biden for his callousness during an appearance on Fox News’ “Primetime.”
“Every time you think of something you shouldn’t do that’s exactly what he does,” the lawmaker noted. “He’s building the Taliban back much better. That’s exactly what he has done. He is not building America back better.”
“I never thought I would see our American military; our country acting this way,” he would add. “We don’t run from these people. We make our own timelines and those timelines should be based on getting our people out in a timely manner. And it’s over when we say it’s over. If they don’t like it, then too bad. We will kill you. That’s exactly what we do to people who get in the way of us saving Americans. And that’s exactly the message that should be delivered right now.”
(Video: Fox News)
Griffin appeared earlier in the day on “The Five” and the Fox News national security reporter slammed Biden for his “empty words.”
“We did not keep our promise and it is a national shame,” she said, speaking of the Afghan allies now being abandoned to the Taliban.
“What continues to be amazing to me is that every time the president speaks, he sets a deadline that then the military has to scramble to adjust to meet,” Griffin said. “He doesn’t seem to understand what it takes to either evacuate people, the build-up, the time needed, the amount of people that he has promised that he was going to get out.”
(Video: Fox News)
“He makes statements like all U.S. citizens will be evacuated from Afghanistan,” she continued, before pointing out that the U.S. government doesn’t even know how many Americans are in Afghanistan.
“When I hear the president talking about these so-called over the horizon capabilities, there are no over the horizon capabilities. Those are empty words,” Griffin insisted. “We do not have any basis in the region where you can place drones, where you have intelligence officers. We now have no partners in on the ground in Afghanistan, other than the Taliban, and how’s that going to work in terms of over the horizon capabilities?”
The reporter hit Biden hard for setting “arbitrary deadlines.”
“Why August 31st?” Griffin asked. “And the Taliban now has, you know, when they hear the president talk about a deadline, then of course they’re going to make him hold to that. It’s so baffling. And the people who are suffering are the Afghans who are being left behind, the women and the children who won’t be able to go to school, and those poor American troops who are doing the best they can right now, being given an impossible task.”
“I can’t even imagine the trauma that they will — they are experiencing right now and that they will be suffering from when they get home,” she continued. “And then there’s the veterans back home who feel so awful, who are getting what that message is and e-mails from their translators who sacrificed their lives for more than a decade, many of whom, thousands of whom, we have not gotten out. We did not keep our promise and it is a national shame.”
U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also condemned the president’s arbitrary deadline on Tuesday.
“The American people have to ask themselves: who is in charge, Joe Biden or the Taliban? Instead of owning the mantle of commander-in-chief and adequately responding to changing events on the ground in Afghanistan, President Biden continues to focus on a self-congratulatory press release and may have now damned all American citizens and our allies who remain in the country after Biden retreats,” the Republican said in a statement. “This is humiliating for the United States and our allies. And it’s weak. We have a duty to ensure every American is evacuated safely.”
Biden was excoriated by a “blue-check” parade of notable voices on the right and left.
Here’s a quick sampling of some of the responses from Twitter:
I hate to break this to @potus but he could spend 30 trillion on infrastructure and it still won’t erase the stain of his surrender in Afghanistan
— Eli Lake (@EliLake) August 24, 2021
Biden: “Before I update you on the meeting that I had with the leaders of the G-7 earlier today, I want to say a word about the progress we’re making on the Build Back Better agenda here at home…”
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 24, 2021
The White House can’t feel the moment. They aren’t in reality.
It’s all a white paper to them.
Biden talking about infrastructure and climate change while Americans are trapped.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) August 24, 2021
Blown away that Biden used his remarks on the crisis in Afghanistan — where more than 10,000 American lives could be at risk — to hype a partisan election overhaul bill.
Imagine being a stranded American and seeing that you’re the THIRD ITEM on his to-do list.
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) August 24, 2021
“Joe Biden gave a speech on Tuesday that was an affront to his allies, to desperate Afghans, and to the American public… he spent the first five of those minutes talking about his domestic economic agenda. In the end, he tried to hoodwink viewers in the US instead.” @Telegraph
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) August 25, 2021
Totally pointless speech, no questions. And I don’t believe him.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 24, 2021
He’s literally turning his back to Americans trapped in Afghanistan.
No questions. Just leaves the room. pic.twitter.com/tcjKeIpecy
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) August 24, 2021
this is utterly delusional. HE is utterly delusional. it’s both pitiful AND terrifying
— steve hilton (@SteveHiltonx) August 24, 2021
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