President Joe Biden put on his dancing shoes Sunday when asked about widespread disapproval of the debacle taking place in Afghanistan, where the Biden administration’s pullout of U.S. troops has devolved into a mad scramble to flee the country on the part of Afghan civilians and diplomats of all nations.
During a media briefing, CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe asked Biden about a CBS News/YouGov poll released Sunday that showed 74 percent of those surveyed rated Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as going very or somewhat badly.
The poll also showed less than 50 percent of those surveyed rated Biden as “competent,” “focused” and “effective” — low points in Biden’s seven months in office.
“A new poll, out today shows Americans wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan, but they disapprove of the way you’ve handled it,” O’Keefe said, according to a White House transcript of Biden’s briefing. “The poll also found that based in part of what transpired over the last week, a majority of Americans — and forgive me, I’m just the messenger — no longer consider you to be competent, focused, or effective at the job.”
“I haven’t seen that poll,” Biden replied, following up with a laugh when O’Keefe pressed him for a response to the poll.
“We have a long way to go [in Afghanistan], and a lot could still go wrong” — President Biden https://t.co/Rj7KtLDqx2
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 22, 2021
Biden then took refuge in his long-familiar line about the cost of the war and avoided answering the question of his popularity.
“Look, I had a basic decision to make: I either withdraw America from a 20-year war that, depending on whose analyses you accept, cost us $150 million a day for 20 years or $300 million a day for 20 years; who — and I — you know I carry this card with me every day — and who — in fact, where we lost 2,448 Americans dead and 20,722 wounded. Either increase the number of forces we’d keep — we keep there and keep that going, or I end the war. And I decided to end the war,” he said.
“As I said the other day: You know, the only reason we were in Afghanistan is this is the place from which bin Laden attacked the United States of America. Had this been in another Middle Eastern country where he could have easily had moved from, we would have never gone to Afghanistan,” he said.
“I think when this is over, the American people will have a clear understanding of what I did, why we did it.”
They have no idea what they’re doing.
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) August 23, 2021
Biden was then asked about trusting the Taliban.
“I don’t trust anybody, including you. I love you, but, you know, there’s not a lot of people I trust to-” Biden began.
He then framed the Taliban as if the group was simply another political faction.
— Don Nomura (@donnomura) August 22, 2021
“Look, the Taliban has a — the Taliban has to make a fundamental decision: Is the Taliban going to attempt to be able to unite and provide for the wellbeing of the people of Afghanistan, which no one group has ever done since before dealing — for hundreds of years,” he said.
Biden indicated that if that happens, assistance might be forthcoming.
“And if it does, it’s going to need everything from additional help, in terms of economic assistance, trades, and a whole range of things,” he said.
“The Taliban has said — we’ll see whether they mean it or not — they’re seeking legitimacy. They’re seeking legitimacy to determine whether or not they will be recognized by other countries,” he said.
— Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) August 22, 2021
After the media briefing, Bo Erickson of CBS offered to help the Biden administration see how low it has fallen.
“Dear White House staff, please share the below polling to @POTUS. He said he had not seen it yet,” Erickson tweeted.
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