Biden Returning To White House To Speak On Afghanistan Crisis For First Time

Biden Returning To White House To Speak On Afghanistan Crisis For First Time

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
August 16, 2021

President Biden will return to the White House from Camp David to deliver remarks to the nation Monday afternoon regarding the situation of the Afghanistan crisis, the first time publicly speaking, following the government collapsing amid Taliban seizing power in Kabul.

According to administration officials,  Biden will cut short his vacation at Camp David, returning to the White House after 1 p.m. ET and will speak about Afghanistan at 3:45 p.m. ET.

Biden has remained in hiding at Camp David since Friday and has stayed largely silent since the Taliban caught the White House off guard by quickly seized control of Kabul on Sunday. The president refused to cut his vacation short to return to the White House and opted to remain at the presidential retreat at Camp David as the situation in Afghanistan worsened.

Several administration officials have also been on vacation, including White House press secretary Jen Psaki who is taking a break from her communication duties. Reporters who attempted to reach out to Psaki with questions for comment received an auto-reply response stating that the voice of the White House would not be available until next week on August 22.

On Sunday, the Taliban assumed control of Kabul, the nation’s capital, and U.S. troops have been re-deployed and scrambling to evacuate American diplomats and personnel as well as Afghan allies from the US Embassy in Kabul, leading to chaos on the tarmac as Afghan civilians attempted to catch the few flights leaving the country. Showing videos showed Afghan civilians desperately clinging to the aircraft as it took off to escape the Taliban take over.

Over the weekend, the president and his team issued a few statements about the situation in Afghanistan, but Biden had yet addressed the issue on camera since last Tuesday. Along with several emailed statements, the White House on Twitter shared a photo showing Biden “working” at Camp David as his national security team was briefing him in a video conference.

Biden, in a lengthy statement issued Saturday, sought to blame the mayhem unfolding in Afghanistan solely on his predecessor, former President Donald Trump. The former president’s efforts to end the war in cutting a deal with the Taliban by imposing a May 1, 2021 deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces that Biden said left the insurgent force “in the strongest position militarily since 2001” and created a blueprint for them to overtake the Afghan government.

In regards to interviews, Biden had left it all to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others to explain how the president’s prediction was wrong and an embarrassment. Despite the fact that the Biden administration admitted during the Sunday morning shows that the Taliban takeover of the country “happened more quickly” than they had anticipated, they continue to stand by the president’s decision to withdraw troops by the end of August.

Pressure mounted on Biden to publicly address the nation as Republicans tore into the president for refusing to return to the White House, with some calling for him to step down.

“Why is Joe Biden on vacation?” Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said on Fox News, ‘Sunday Morning Futures.’ “I don’t think he’s taken one question from the press this entire weekend, so this is a frightening situation.”

“Why is Joe Biden in hiding?” Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas tweeted. “He should immediately address the nation and answer for the catastrophic situation in Afghanistan. Conference calls between cabinet secretaries and senators don’t cut it in a crisis.”

The House Republicans on Twitter shared a video of Biden’s response when asked that the Afghan government will collapse following U.S. troops withdrawal, adding: “This was just 38 days ago.”

Trump has repeatedly slammed Biden over the last week for his haste handling of U.S troop withdrawal and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. On Sunday, Trump called for Biden to “resign in disgrace” over his hasting handling of Afghanistan amid the government falling to the Taliban.

“It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan, along with the tremendous surge in COVID, the Border catastrophe, the destruction of energy independence, and our crippled economy,” Trump said in an email statement Sunday from his Save America PAC.

The former president continued to slam Biden for his silence over the Afghanistan crisis and wondered what will be the president’s next debacle while in office.

“The outcome in Afghanistan, including the withdrawal, would have been totally different if the Trump administration had been in charge,” Trump said in a statement Monday morning. “Who or what will Joe Biden surrender to next? Someone should ask him if they can find him.”

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

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