As the establishment media pressed the Biden administration’s reluctance to answer questions regarding the withdrawal from Afganistan, Biden defended his actions to ABC News host George Stephanopoulos at the White House.
For the first time after the crisis in Afganistan – eight days ago – Biden took questions; however, he seemed unprepared.
Biden snapped when he questioned about the Afghan people rushing a military plane as it took off in Kabul; some fell to their deaths as it took off.
“That was four days ago, five days ago,” Biden snapped when asked about the images, trying to dismiss them entirely.
The incident occurred only two days ago, which Stephanopoulos did not press him on.
When Biden was asked about the images, he replied that he reacted by wanting the military to gain control – not showing any emotion to the scenes that shocked the world.
“What I thought was, we have to gain control of this,” he said. “We have to move this more quickly. We have to move in a way in which we can take control of that airport. And we did.”
Biden denied he could have handled the withdrawal better.
“No. I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that — we’re going to go back in hindsight and look — but the idea that, somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” he said.
The president called his withdrawal from Afganistan a “simple choice” instead of being planned and executed better by his team, as he appeared defiant against his critics.
“When you look at what’s happened over the last week, was it a failure of intelligence, planning, execution, or judgment?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Look, it was a simple choice, George,” Biden said, arguing that he could have either stayed true to the withdrawal date of August 31 or extended it further with more troops.
Already, 6,000 troops have been deployed to Afganistan in recent days to facilitate the evacuation process.
Biden was confronted with his determination that the Taliban would not take over Afghanistan in July. Biden confirmed intelligence suggested the Afganistan government would collapse by year’s end.
“Well, the question was whether or not it — the idea that the Taliban would take over was premised on the notion that the — somehow, the 300,000 troops we had trained and equipped was going to just collapse, they were going to give up,” he said. “I don’t think anybody anticipated that.”
Finally, as Stephanopoulos pressed him, Biden committed to going beyond the August 31 deadline by keeping American troops in Afghanistan if necessary. During Tuesday’s press briefing, his press secretary Jen Psaki and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan refused to commit.
Americans should understand that we’re going to try to get it done before August 31,” Biden said and added, “If we don’t, we’ll determine at the time who’s left.” And “if there are American — if there [are] American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out.”
Criticism of Biden’s withdrawal from Afganistan continues; however, the White House seems reluctant to put in on camera to answer questions.
On Wednesday, the president tried to shift focus back to the coronavirus pandemic as he spent more time attacking unvaccinated Americans and Republican governors than reassuring he would get Americans out of Afganistan.
The president has no public events and no press briefings scheduled for Thursday.
Biden is expected to take another long weekend in Delaware during August.
A Federal Aviation Administration flight restriction notice suggested that Biden leave the White House for Delaware on Wednesday and remain there until August 23.