Two photos of President Joe Biden this week show the White House trying to capture the aftermath of the biggest crisis of its presidency
In the first, he sat alone at Camp David and watched a series of video monitors surrounded by 18 empty leather chairs. Some White House officials even wondered if his polo shirt images helped.
When Biden returned to the White House three days later, the picture was very different. Dressed in a suit and tie, he sat at the conference table of the Situation Room, his mask hanging from one ear while frowning at the assembled members of the national security team. The White House said the same team met a day later to “direct efforts in Afghanistan.”
Biden behaved in the worst days of his seven-month presidency this week and has been accused of worsening the end of America’s longest war, even by his most loyal allies at home and abroad. The White House has tried to explain the chaos in Afghanistan through briefings, speeches and interviews – despite Biden’s opposition to his decision and insisting that the American people are behind it.
Meanwhile, officials tried to do their normal work by announcing the Jovid vaccine boosters on Wednesday, noting that Biden was focusing on his domestic agenda, including an infrastructure bill passed by Congress. On Thursday, the Democrat spoke to lawmakers not about Afghanistan, but about the business and infrastructure agenda – a sign that the president intends to continue to make progress despite the disaster in Kabul.
As White House scrambles on Afghanistan, Biden faces some of most dire days of his presidency:
Biden’s aides still believe that the vast majority of the public supports the president’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, and that his statement that it is never a good time to end the war will resonate after the shock of the initial chaos. And this week, they tried to highlight other hidden successes of the Afghan crisis, such as low unemployment claims in the new pandemic era and a resurgence of vaccination rates.
Still, Biden’s well-known stubborn streak was demonstrated this week, and a White House official acknowledged that it was useless as he tried to explain and manage the crisis and restore his government’s credibility.
So far, the president’s reflexive response to the crisis to blame him and reject criticism has done little to calm questions about whether he is properly prepared to seize the Taliban. It has tarnished the image of carefully crafted competence, and Biden’s own explanations of what has happened – that chaos is inevitable and that the Afghan army is to blame – reject empathy, a key political feature.
The two officials said Biden was scheduled to make statements on Afghanistan before leaving the White House on Friday, and that Biden reaffirmed his belief in the decision to end the longest war in the United States and that progress could be made in evacuating people from the country. He is expected to camp at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, over the weekend, but according to a source familiar with Biden’s visit, the second attempt on Rehoboth Beach was postponed in the August calendar, originally scheduled for next week. plans.
In this week’s meetings in the White House Situation Room, Biden focused primarily on bringing the insurgency, which he insisted was inevitable this week, into a rebel situation. In tense meetings, he demanded that the national security team find ways to bring order to Kabul International Airport, and by Thursday, American warplanes had sent thousands of Americans and Afghans fleeing the Taliban abroad. Biden spoke about the restrictions on how many non-citizens can be brought to the United States and the options for third countries.
According to a senior official familiar with the directive, Biden told senior commanders who facilitated the evacuation from Kabul that he did not want to see empty seats on the planes and that the president had made it clear that he wanted each plane to be separated. . The capacity of the airport is full. An official warned that given the chaotic nature of the evacuation, the president’s order did not always mean it was for every flight.
Get them on the planes. Remove. Remove. “I told them to take their families out if possible,” Biden told ABC News, explaining his instructions to his team.
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News credit@ CNN