An explosion punctuated by torrents of gunfire ripped through Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport last Thursday morning, killing dozens of people, including 13 U.S. servicemen. “Americans are dying at the hands of President Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan,” said Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI).
Across the political spectrum, the media have largely reported President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as a geopolitical and humanitarian disaster. But a few intrepid figures on CNN and MSNBC have pulled out all the stops in their efforts to diminish, deny, or deflect blame from the president. Here are five examples:
Joy Reid: Republicans Must Stop Criticizing Biden’s Afghanistan Exit Because Of Covid
Of all cable TV hosts, MSNBC’s Joy Reid has perhaps most consistently defended President Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, spending much of last week giving the president political cover. Last Monday, she blamed the debacle on President Donald Trump’s withdrawal agreement. Then, on last Tuesday’s episode of “The ReidOut,” she engaged in a perplexing fit of whataboutism, claiming Republicans have no right to criticize the humanitarian disaster because of last year’s global COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Republican Party has seized on these moments to score political points,” she said:
Take, for example, Texas Representative Michael McCaul, who told CNN that Biden will, quote, have blood on his hands for what they did. This is the same man who represents a state where more than 54,000 people have died from COVID.
Tell me, Congressman, does Governor Abbott have blood on his hands for his abandonment of the people of the Lone Star State? What about the 626,000 Americans who died of COVID because of Donald Trump?
She concluded that the GOP’s “newfound outrage” over the unfolding international humanitarian crisis “just stinks of political opportunism.”
Chris Cuomo: Biden’s Debacle Caused by ‘The Trump Deal’
On “Cuomo Prime Time,” Chris Cuomo expanded the context of Biden’s debacle wide enough to cast blame on President Donald Trump. “Don’t judge this exit in a vacuum. That would be a mistake. It’s not as simple as Biden botching the exit, or Trump pandering to you, the public, by foolishly making a deal with the Taliban, to exit,” he said:
Now, you want to deal with the instant situation? Fine. We are here right now, because Biden carried forward with the Trump deal made with the Taliban, to exit, and didn’t do it well. … Mike Pompeo wound up cutting the deal with the Taliban, to leave, so no talk from him, about Biden cozying up to the bad guys. You made a deal with them. You met with the lead Taliban negotiator last year, after the Trump Administration had released him from prison. So, again, enough with the noise, and the politics, and the blame. You made the deal, because the American people were in favor of getting out. … The bigger question is whether or not this was inevitable.
Cuomo did not explain why President Biden did not renegotiate such a calamitous deal, nor how the deal forced him to execute the evacuation in a way that will likely leave U.S. citizens stranded inside an Islamic theocracy during the August 16 episode.
Lawrence O’Donnell: Well, Vietnam Was ‘Much, Much Worse’
Lawrence O’Donnell worried that comparing President Biden’s flawed evacuation of Kabul to the fall of Saigon “could become one of America’s enduring lies to itself about Afghanistan.” He minimized the intensity of the international crisis on MSNBC’s “The Last Word” by saying, in effect, that at least it isn’t as bad as Vietnam.
The Harvard-educated O’Donnell, who never served in the military, asserted that he knew more about geostrategic issues than military brass and an elected U.S. senator because he is likely older than they are.
“An unnamed American military source in Afghanistan was quoted as saying what we are seeing now in the American evacuation of Afghanistan is worse, much worse, than what we saw in 1975 in the American evacuation from Vietnam after we lost the war there,” he complained. “The problem with that kind of quote is that any unnamed military source in Afghanistan tonight is too young to remember the Vietnam War and was probably not born yet when we evacuated Vietnam in 1975, and so that source literally does not know what he or she is talking about.”
He also argued that Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) could not comment intelligently on the fall of Saigon, since “Sasse was three years old in 1975.” By that logic, O’Donnell couldn’t possibly comment on the evils of slavery.
O’Donnell stated that the Vietnam Conflict caused more deaths than Afghanistan and that “we left behind all sorts of people who helped us in Vietnam” — something that increasingly appears likely to take place in Afghanistan, as well.
CNN: Joe Biden Has Done ‘An Extremely Good Job’
Former Bush-Cheney strategist Matthew Dowd, who has since aligned himself with the Democratic Party, has repeatedly extolled President Joe Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal. “I actually applauded the president from the very beginning about Afghanistan,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “He was dealt a horrible situation. And as of today, he’s done an extremely good job in this situation.” To bolster his argument, he said that many people believed there was “no possible way” the president could evacuate 50,000 people; it is unclear who made this assertion.
Dowd did not address the fact that removing U.S. citizens and our allies from the nation became far more difficult thanks to the president’s decision to remove all military forces from Afghanistan before flying out civilians from the Taliban-dominated regions of the country.
“I think the president’s done unbelievable yeoman’s work,” he added on Tuesday, August 24.
Dowd and Brian Stelter joined forces to bash the media’s depiction of the collapse of Kabul on the August 22 episode of “Reliable Sources.” Stelter called the media’s coverage of the Biden administration “scathing,” adding “I heard complaints from Biden’s aides about this.”
“Has the coverage been out of proportion, out of step with the American public?” he asked Dowd.
“Way over the top and unconnected to a perspective on the issue,” Dowd replied. “The press has a tendency to judge things by anecdotes and not the data.”
CNN: ‘This is not Saigon 1975’
CNN also downplayed the severity of the ill-planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by saying that it would not likely harm the odds of President Biden being reelected, unlike Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. “In contrast to Vietnam, Afghanistan was not a debate that raged on the streets of America. As a result, the odds that this weekend’s events will make or break Biden’s administration seem small,” wrote CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer.
“What Biden can’t do is to allow the challenges with Afghanistan to take his energy and attention away from real wartime test that he continues to face — the need to rapidly expand the nation’s rate of vaccination, develop better treatments for Covid-19, and guide the nation back to the normal we all tasted earlier this summer.”
Honorable Mention: Nicolle Wallace Says That ‘95% Of The American People’ Back Joe Biden
The day after the first heart-rending images of chaos amid the withdrawal aired, President Biden told the nation that he had no regrets about his decision and that the military had planned for every contingency. Minutes after he concluded his remarks, former Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace enthusiastically defended him on “Deadline: White House.”
“Ninety-five percent of the American people will agree with everything he just said. Ninety-five percent of the press covering this White House will disagree,” said Wallace. “For an American president to finally be aligned with what such an overwhelming majority of Americans think about Afghanistan is probably a tremendous relief to the American people.”
In reality, Biden’s speech conflated leaving Afghanistan — which is politically popular — with the fall of Kabul and the Biden administration’s failure to secure Americans’ exit from the country before withdrawing all U.S. troops.
— The Recount (@therecount) August 16, 2021
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.