Democrat President Joe Biden struggled during a mostly friendly interview with ABC News host George Stephanopoulos — who used to work for former President Bill Clinton — about his chaotic and disastrous pullout of Afghanistan, which has left thousands of Americans trapped in a nation now controlled by the Taliban.
Biden claimed there was “no consensus” in his administration’s intelligence reports about when Afghanistan might fall and that it was “likely to be sometime by the end of the year.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: But your top military advisors warned against withdrawing on this timeline. They wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops.
BIDEN: No, they didn’t. It was split. Tha– that wasn’t true. That wasn’t true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They didn’t tell you that they wanted troops to stay?
BIDEN: No. Not at — not in terms of whether we were going to get out in a timeframe all troops. They didn’t argue against that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no one told — your military advisors did not tell you, “No, we should just keep 2,500 troops. It’s been a stable situation for the last several years. We can do that. We can continue to do that”?
BIDEN: No. No one said that to me that I can recall.
“No, no one said that to me that I can recall.”
So Biden may have just forgotten that people told him this was going to be a disaster?pic.twitter.com/i1Fokv5gHs
— Nathan Brand (@NathanBrandWA) August 19, 2021
The Wall Street Journal reported, however, that Biden’s “top generals, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, urged Mr. Biden to keep a force of about 2,500 troops, the size he inherited, while seeking a peace agreement between warring Afghan factions, to help maintain stability.”
Biden, who has sought to blame Trump for the situation in Afghanistan, effectively ended his ability to blame the former president when he told Stephanopoulos that he would have essentially done the same thing again, even if Trump had not dealt with the Taliban.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So would you have withdrawn troops like this even if President Trump had not made that deal with the Taliban?
BIDEN: I would’ve tried to figure out how to withdraw those troops, yes, because look, George. There is no good time to leave Afghanistan. Fifteen years ago would’ve been a problem, 15 years from now.
STEPHANOPOLOUS: "Would you have withdrawn troops like this even if President Trump had not made that deal with the Taliban?"
BIDEN: "I would have tried to figure out how to withdraw those troops. Yes." pic.twitter.com/MIyvrZoJoA
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) August 19, 2021
Biden claimed that “no one’s being killed right now” and falsely that disturbing images out of the area were from last week when, in fact, they happened this week.
🚨🚨: Stephanopoulos says there's still a lot of pandemonium at the Kabul airport.
Biden: "But look, no one's being killed right now," then *literally knocks on wood!* What?? #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/MNHuyHle8H
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) August 19, 2021
Biden dismisses Afghans falling out of planes by saying “that was 4-5 days ago.” It was 2 days ago. pic.twitter.com/jWaxaHXsMT
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 18, 2021
Biden also seemed unaware that the U.S. has 900 troops stationed in Syria:
Al Qaeda, ISIS, they metastasize. There’s a significantly greater threat to the United States from Syria. There’s a significantly greater threat from East Africa. There’s significant greater threat to other places in the world than it is from the mountains of Afghanistan. And we have maintained the ability to have an over-the-horizon capability to take them out. We’re– we don’t have military in Syria to make sure that we’re gonna be protected—
Joe Biden: “We don’t have military in Syria." The U.S. has 900 troops. pic.twitter.com/zXywawGsD4
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 19, 2021
Biden claimed he thinks that the Taliban is “going through sort of an existential crisis about” whether “they want to be recognized by the international community as being a legitimate government.”
“I’m not sure I would’ve predicted, George, nor would you or anyone else, that when we decided to leave, that they’d provide safe passage for Americans to get out,” Biden claimed as thousands of Americans remained trapped on the ground with the Biden administration saying that they could not guarantee their safety to the airport.
Biden: The Taliban faces an “existential crisis”; “they care about whether they have food to eat, whether they have an income that can make any money & run an economy”
Adds, “no one” would’ve predicted the Taliban would agree “to provide safe passage for Americans to get out” pic.twitter.com/VdWUR344VQ
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) August 19, 2021