US President Joe Biden President granted an exclusive interview to ABC – his first media grilling over the situation in Afghanistan – where he doubled down on his decision to withdraw troops from the South Asian nation and acknowledged that, if needed, US forces would be staying past the 31 August deadline to evacuate all Americans.
US President Joe Biden is facing a backlash in the wake of Wednesday’s interview, where he addressed the current situation in Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban Islamist group.
Biden spoke to ABC lead anchor and former President Bill Clinton campaign director George Stephanopoulos after evading the volatile issue in an earlier speech about COVID-19 vaccine boosters and masks at the White House. Biden exited the briefing, opting not to take questions from the press corps.
An indignant Matt Whitlock, vice president of CRC Advisors, and former deputy chief of staff to now-retired Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, went on Twitter to slam the White House’s decision to opt for an exclusive sit-down with Stephanopoulos as “outrageous”.
Outrageous optics for Biden to do a friendly interview with former Democrat staffer George Stephanopoulos but not take questions from the press.
(But reading this I guess you can see why they’re keeping him locked down) https://t.co/5M5Nxdq4SD
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) August 18, 2021
Amid the ongoing withdrawal of US and NATO forces from the country, launched in May by Biden, the Taliban* Islamist group embarked upon a massive offensive to reclaim territory. The onslaught resulted in the fall of the capital, Kabul, and collapse of the government of Ashraf Ghani, with the former president fleeing the country.
The administration of Joe Biden has been fending off criticism for the decision to pull out of the country.
The President, however, throughout his ABC interview, remained adamant that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan was a necessity. He acknowledged on Wednesday that there was no way to avoid the mayhem that unfolded in Afghanistan over the weekend.
When George Stephanopoulos questioned Biden on his response to photos showing hundreds of Afghans crammed into a US C-17 transport airplane, with some people falling from the already airborne plane, Biden interrupted the host by saying:
“That was four days ago, five days ago.”
Stephanopoulos: “We’ve seen those hundreds of people packed in a C-17, we’ve seen Afghans falling…”
Pres. Biden: “That was four days ago, five days ago!”
(The referenced events were 2 days ago)pic.twitter.com/xUKof6fkoV
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) August 18, 2021
When Taliban entered the Afghan capital of Kabul, a trove of images and video footage emerged online showing hundreds of Afghans flocking to the Hamid Karzai International Airport, hoping to leave the country on one of the US flights. Recordings shared online showed Afghans clinging to C-17 military transports, even as the aircraft were taxiing down the runway.
According to the video of the Biden interview, cited by Washington Times, Stephanopoulos, a former White House senior policy advisor, feebly attempted to press the POTUS further, saying, “What did you think when you first saw those pictures?”, yet failed.
Richard Grenell, ex-Trump administration official, tweeted his apparent disgust with how the anchor seemed to flounder. Grenell deplored how “activist Democrat” Stephanopoulos “let Joe Biden get away with saying the C17 liftoff was ‘4 or 5 days ago’,” when “it wasn’t”.
. @GStephanopoulos let Joe Biden get away with saying the C17 liftoff was “4 or 5 days ago”.
It wasn’t. And it doesn’t matter when it was.
Stephanopoulos is an activist Democrat.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) August 18, 2021
Others on Twitter similarly believed that the President ought to have faced a presser grilling over his administration’s role in unleashing the events currently taking place in Afghanistan.
Seriously, an exclusive interview with Stephanopoulos confirms that admin. is now in damage control mode.
— J Downs (@downsjm) August 17, 2021
Love how great journalist, Stephanopoulos quickly called him out on that lie…. oh wait he didn’t
— Mike wilson (@Bearfanmike123) August 19, 2021
It’s clear that with Biden we’re in a Woodrow Wilson/Ronald Reagan situation. The press should just interview Dr. Jill. She could keep saying, “Well, my husband says….”
— Michael Dix (@mjdix8) August 18, 2021
Only a failed leader continues to double down on the bad decisions that completely tore down #Afganistan. The world knows he screwed, yet he still claims that he was right. America has never had such a lack of leadership in the #Whitehouse in its history.
— Army Chief P (@ChiefPoints) August 18, 2021
Terrifying. No self-awareness. No humility or contrition. No shame. What you see is pure ego – that there is no room in his mind for the idea that he made a series of horrific decisions that have resulted in serious consequences for America’s safety and standing in the world.
— RiverRoadPartners (@partners_road) August 18, 2021
Basically like saying forget those fools from 4 days ago, five days ago! 😂😂
— aplusone (@213_aplusone) August 18, 2021
Ladies and gentlemen, our Commander in Chief
— Katie Westerman (@U_Kdub) August 18, 2021
Dereliction of Duty
— Alaskatriguy (@alaskatriguy) August 18, 2021
Raise your hand if the Biden presidency is way worse than you thought it would be.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) August 18, 2021
Many saw the Biden interview with the ABC anchor as well-rehearsed, yet still peppered with “mistakes”.
Biden was prepared for an interview with George Stephanopoulos and still made mistakes. This is why he will not take questions from the press. https://t.co/pCoodh6pjT
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) August 18, 2021
Even a Democrat fluffer like Stephanopoulos can’t save Biden from himself. He actually said he doesn’t know how the Afghanistan withdrawal could have been handled any better.🤦🏽♂️
— Thought Criminal (@Craftmastah) August 18, 2021
Elsewhere in the interview, US President Joe Biden acknowledged that, if needed, US forces would be remaining in Afghanistan past the August deadline to evacuate all Americans.
— ABC News (@ABC) August 18, 2021
”And if you’re American force — if there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out,” Biden said in the interview.
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other nations.