Get ready for lots of emoting in Joe Biden’s third attempt to rescue himself … after having abandoned thousands of Americans to the Taliban. In his speech on Monday and again in his interview with George Stephanopoulos, Biden came across as callous and uncaring as well as incompetent and at times incoherent. Oh, and let’s not forget the time Biden spoke this week for 20 minutes to attack his real enemy — Ron DeSantis — while completely ignoring his debacle in Afghanistan.
Wanna bet that the White House speechwriters injected New And Improved Biden Compassion® into the teleprompters this time?
President Biden, facing intense criticism over the chaotic push to get Americans and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan, will speak about the evacuation effort on Friday afternoon.
The remarks, planned for 1 p.m., come after days of tumult in and around Hamid Karzai International Airport since the Taliban took Kabul, the Afghan capital. The United States has struggled to quickly process visas for evacuees, and images of Afghans clinging to departing U.S. military aircraft have circulated around the world.
If Biden wants to sell the public on his expertise in exfiltration, he’d better not be aiming for the Cadillac El Dorado or the steak knives:
As of Thursday afternoon, the U.S. military had evacuated 7,000 Americans, Afghans and others since the Afghan government began to collapse on Saturday, well short of the 5,000 to 9,000 passengers a day that the military will be able to fly out once the evacuation process is at full throttle, officials said.
As many as 6,000 people — including former interpreters and cultural and political advisers — were also on standby to be flown out of Kabul’s airport early Friday.
Clarissa Ward reported this morning that the fiasco on the inside of the airport is only exceeded by the catastrophe surrounding it. NBC’s Richard Engel reports this morning that it’s getting worse, not better:
What was supposed to be an organised evacuation of foreigners and Afghans who worked with US/Nato is rapidly becoming a chaotic humanitarian airlift
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) August 20, 2021
There is no way to sell the evacuation as anything other than an unmitigated disaster. The purpose of this third (fourth?) attempt at a public response will likely be to repair Biden’s mortally wounded reputation as the Carer in Chief. After sneering at Afghan vets and abandoning Americans behind Taliban lines in Biden’s haste to get out of Afghanistan, he has to somehow recapture the idea that He Cares About You.
At the same time, however, Biden has to sound coherent and informed, two qualities that have escaped Biden in his last attempts to reset the politics. He’s already providing overtime work for fact checkers, including at the Washington Post, which today picks apart several Biden claims in his ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos:
President Biden made a few dubious claims during a nationally televised interview in which he defended the quick pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. We analyzed four of the president’s responses to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. Our practice is not to award Pinocchios when we round up multiple statements.
It’s too long to effectively excerpt, but let’s just hit the four bullet points that Salvatore Rizzo debunks, mainly from the Post’s own reporting. We can use that as a scorecard for Biden’s attempts later today to spin out of any responsibility for the outcome of his policy decisions:
- Military advisers didn’t want to keep 2500 troops in place to maintain stability
- No warnings that Afghanistan would collapse quickly
- Afghanistan had 300,000 troops and no one thought they would give up without American support
- We have no military troops in Syria for our counter-terror operations
All of those are false, and more to the point, provably false. If Biden keeps doubling down on those today, questions won’t be raised about his integrity — it’s clear he has none — but about his competence and capacity.
The show starts at 1 pm ET or thereabouts, so be sure to tune in. The over-under on questions taken from reporters at the end of this desperate tap-dance is, um … zero. And always take the under when it comes to this pusillanimous poseur.
Update: Speaking of poses:
WH Comms Director Kate Bedingfield: “The president never shies away from taking questions.” pic.twitter.com/KNkSqyCgtU
— America Rising (@AmericaRising) August 20, 2021
We have two visuals this week of Biden slinking away from the lectern rather than take questions from the press. The term “gaslighting” is overused, but it’s applicable here.