Joe Biden rushes back to vacation at Camp David after refusing to take questions on Afghan fiasco
President Joe Biden has been on the receiving end of constant criticism in the wake of the Taliban overrunning Afghanistan. Now, Biden is facing backlash for immediately returning to Camp David after he addressed the nation on the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan.
Last month, Biden insisted that there's no way his troop withdrawal from Afghanistan would lead to a Saigon-like situation. “There's going to be no circumstance where you're going to see people being lifted off the roof of a (sic) embassy of the United States from Afghanistan,” the president said during a press conference on July 8. Those words have come back to bite him. The US Embassy in Kabul was forced to evacuate by helicopter once the militant forces breached the city on Sunday, August 15.
On Monday, August 16, Biden returned to the White House while being away at Camp David after receiving pressure from Republicans and Democrats to speak out about the Taliban's swift takeover of Afghanistan amid US troop withdrawal. After speaking for approximately twenty minutes, Biden left without taking any questions from reporters. The White House then announced that Biden would return promptly to Camp David.
Biden defended his decision to pull US troops out of Afghanistan. “I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces,” Biden said. “I am president of the United States of America. The buck stops with me.”
“The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated,” Biden said of the Taliban, which captured the entire country of Afghanistan in less than two weeks. “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves. We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them with the will to fight for that future.”
“I know my decision will be criticized, but I would rather take all that criticism than pass this decision on to a future president,” Biden said. “I want to acknowledge how painful this is to so many of us. The scenes we’re seeing in Afghanistan, they’re gut-wrenching, particularly for our veterans, our diplomats, humanitarian workers, anyone who has spent time on the ground working to support the Afghan people.”
Though Biden stood his ground, the fact that he did not take questions, and his decision to leave to White House again for Camp David was heavily criticized. Tim Graham of the Media Research Center tweeted "If Biden wasn't going to take questions, why leave Camp David?"
Former Acting Director of the United States National Intelligence Ric Grenell also slammed the decision tweeting "He could have delivered his monologue from Camp David." Conservative writer Carmine Sabia wrote, "Joe Biden is now heading back to Camp David for his nap. I would like to be kidding but I’m not. The world is on fire and he’s heading back to his vacation.”
If Biden wasn't going to take questions, why leave Camp David?— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) August 16, 2021
He could have delivered his monologue from Camp David. https://t.co/jN7BDtlM70— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) August 16, 2021
Joe Biden is now heading back to Camp David for his nap. I would like to be kidding but I’m not. The world is on fire and he’s heading back to his vacation.— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) August 16, 2021
One Twitter user said, “I’ll let the foreign policy experts debate the issues surrounding Afghanistan but I will say that from a PR perspective, POTUS leaving the White House for his vacation home immediately after a major address to the nation & during a serious crisis doesn’t send the best message.”
NPR reporter Lilly Ana Fowler commented, “I mean ... even if he’s planning to work from there the optics ain’t good. Why wouldn’t you stay in DC?” Mercedes Schlapp, the former White House Director of Strategic Communications in the Trump administration, tweeted, “He has to finish his vacation while Afghanistan crumbles.”
I’ll let the foreign policy experts debate the issues surrounding Afghanistan but I will say that from a PR perspective, POTUS leaving the White House for his vacation home immediately after a major address to the nation & during a serious crisis doesn’t send the best message… https://t.co/7zGpSPSutH— Josh Wilson (@JoshWilsonIA) August 16, 2021
I mean ... even if he’s planning to work from there the optics ain’t good. Why wouldn’t you stay in DC? https://t.co/t3pFbWe8LU— Lilly Ana Fowler (@LillyAFowler) August 16, 2021
He has to finish his vacation while Afghanistan crumbles. https://t.co/7DLmNAHLsT— Mercedes Schlapp (@mercedesschlapp) August 16, 2021