A telling moment on both sides of the media-White House equation. When your national-security adviser goes on camera to excuse the panicked evacuation of an embassy by noting that flying machines get used for flying, you don’t have any good answers to give. And when that explanation draws derisive laughter from the on-air reporter, you know that everyone knows you don’t have a good answer to give.
Especially in a Democratic administration:
? Savannah Guthrie just destroyed National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan for downplaying all the Saigon-esque helicopter shots out of #Afghanistan:
His excuse? “To be fair, the helicopter has been our mode of transport from the embassy for 20 years.”
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) August 16, 2021
National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar offered a succinct and accurate assessment of Jake Sullivan’s spin attempt:
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) August 16, 2021
Give Savannah Guthrie a lot of credit for avoiding the “Republicans pounce®!” spin in this presentation. She brought the receipts in the clips of Joe Biden insisting that we’d never see this kind of evacuation from the US embassy. Jake Sullivan tries his best to spin around that by claiming that no one could have predicted that the Afghans would refuse to fight, but somehow never explains how this administration missed that outcome as late as a few weeks ago.
Isn’t that a failing that a national security advisor should have to explain? Sullivan never gets around to explaining how he and the entire administration couldn’t foresee such a collapse after Biden pulled all military support from a native force that already had morale issues as well as capability gaps. The entire chain of command appears ready to offer nothing more than a shrug at this outcome. “Embarrassing” doesn’t begin to cover it.
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