President Joe Biden was roundly criticized for his disastrous interview with George Stephanopoulos, during which he often appeared confused and sometimes defiant.
“We’ve all seen the pictures. We’ve seen those hundreds of people packed in a C-17. We’ve seen Afghans falling,” Stephanopoulos said before an angry Biden interrupted him.
“That was four days ago, five days ago!” the president said; in reality, it was two days before the interview.
At another point, the former press secretary to Bill Clinton asked if the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan could have been done better.
“No. I don’t think it could’ve been handled in a way that — we’re going to go back in hindsight and look but the idea that somehow there was a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” Biden said.
“So for you, that was always priced in the decision?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Yes,” Biden answered.
EXCLUSIVE: Pressed on whether the U.S.'s exit from Afghanistan could have been handled better, Pres. Biden tells @GStephanopoulos, "The idea that somehow, there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing—I don't know how that happens." https://t.co/mH1AyWI5lb pic.twitter.com/osAwdDQy2L
— ABC News (@ABC) August 18, 2021
Social media users had a field day.
“This is such a slap in the face to the thousands of Americans still in Afghanistan. He had no plan, he has no urgency, and he won’t take responsibility. #Shameful,” former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley wrote on Twitter.
“A truly ignorant and shameful performance by an American president,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) wrote.
“No way to avoid this chaos? That’s a bald-faced lie. Joe Biden is as dishonest as he is impotent,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) wrote.
Others also piled on.
“Biden’s failure to even admit to his catastrophic mistake, when the whole world has watched the disaster unfurl on live TV, is both breathtakingly arrogant & disturbingly delusional. He either doesn’t care or is in denial,” British TV host Piers Morgan said.
“This is a presidency-defining clip. And it’s really bad,” Commentary associate editor Noah Rothman wrote.
Meanwhile, other journalists jumped in to correct Biden’s misstatements.
President @JoeBiden now says he doesn’t know how the U.S. could have withdrawn from Afghanistan “without chaos ensuing.” But on July 8th, he said “the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely,” CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer wrote.
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler pointed out previous statements by Biden. “Biden, today: ‘The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens.’ Reporter to Biden, July 8: ‘Your own intelligence community has assessed that the Afghan government will likely collapse.’ Biden: ‘That is not true.’”
And others corrected Biden’s timeline.
“Two days ago. It was two days ago,” The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis told Biden.
“This happened Monday. Not 5 days ago. What exactly is going on here?!” former “View” co-host Meghan McCain wrote on Twitter.
“This is a brutal exchange for so many reasons, but Biden replying with ‘that was four days ago, five days ago’ about the photos that we saw two days ago is bad and then saying ‘no’ to being asked if this could’ve been handled better is as bad as it gets,” writer Josh Jordan tweeted.