Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” appeared on his network earlier Sunday to discuss President Joe Biden’s turbulent week, which included setbacks on vaccines, a diplomatic row with France, a burgeoning border crisis, and a poorly-executed deadly drone strike in Afghanistan.
Joining network correspondent Willie Geist, the two discussed the rejection of a COVID-19 booster vaccine by an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration, which said there isn’t enough data to recommend one for anyone under the age of 65 as well as people who are otherwise susceptible to becoming deathly ill from the virus; the Pentagon admitting that a drone strike launched in response to a suicide bombing attack against American troops did not kill an ISIS-K operative but rather an Afghan aid worker and his seven children; and France’s recall of its ambassador to the United States after Paris was cut out of a deal to build nuclear-powered submarines for Australia after the two countries had an agreement.
In addition, Biden faces a new crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, as thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, have gathered under a bridge near Del Rio, Texas.
“I think he’s got a pretty big credibility crisis on his hands,” Todd noted. “Because all of these problems, in some ways, showed up after he said something basically the exact opposite.”
“Afghanistan withdrawal wasn’t going to be messy,” the host noted further. “This wasn’t going to look like Saigon. The booster shots, he came out and essentially said eight months, and even indicated maybe we should start it as soon as five months. Now we’re not sure if anybody under 65 is going to get a booster shot.”
Todd went on to note that Biden is set to address the United Nations this week and that speech could be a make-or-break moment for his presidency and the overall credibility of his administration and the United States, generally.
“He’s got a lot of work to do. The U.N. speech, look, he’s got credibility issues on the world stage to make sure people still view America as — not just a stable democracy — but a competent leader of the free world right now,” said Todd.
“So, look, he’s got a lotta work to do. I think the next month’s probably still tough for him politically ’cause he’s gotta get this big bill through Congress,” Todd continued, likely a reference to a $3.5 trillion spending package that is being opposed by a key member of Biden’s party, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
“If he can get that thing passed, Willy, I think he can start to, ya know, take a few breaths here a little bit, but he’s got a lot on the line here this month, that’s for sure,” Todd added.
Manchin indicated last week that the amount of money in the bill, which Democrats want to pass via the reconciliation process so they can bypass a Republican filibuster, is too high.
“We don’t have an urgency. Don’t you think we ought to debate a little more, talk about it, see what we got out there?” Manchin said on Todd’s show.
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