Irritated Biden gives first interview after Kabul fiasco: This withdrawal couldn’t have been handled any better

I was not expecting the talking point from the White House after the week we’ve just endured to be, essentially, “This was the best-case scenario.”

The highlight below, I think, is Stephanopoulos asking him about desperate Afghans falling to their deaths after clinging to the outside of U.S. military planes taking off from Kabul and Biden answering, with visible annoyance, “That was four days ago, five days ago!”

It was two days ago, Joe. But, okay, it’s out of the current news cycle. Which makes it unimportant, I guess?

Isn’t empathy supposed to be the thing he’s good at?

I can’t believe I’m going to say this but the White House might be better off letting Kamala Harris handle the messaging duties from now on.

We have video from as recently as 41 days ago of Biden insisting that withdrawal wouldn’t necessarily be chaotic:

There’s no reassuring way to interpret his answers to Stephanopoulos. Either he’s lying to cover up a massive intelligence failure by claiming that this impromptu Dunkirk at the airport was the predictable cost of exiting Afghanistan and Americans need to accept that. Or he’s telling the truth and he greenlit an operation which he had every reason to know would become a fiasco, with thousands of Americans and many thousands more U.S.-allied Afghans stranded in Taliban territory with no route to evacuate.

Why didn’t he negotiate with the Taliban to extend the deadline for withdrawal for a few more months, until “fighting season” was over for the year and evacuation could happen in an orderly way? If that meant a new round of shooting, well, the Afghan army was doing most of the fighting anyway on our side. At least it would have bought us time for a proper exit where everyone who deserved to get out could do so.

But this was inevitable?

It couldn’t have been handled any better?

He even lied to Stephanopoulos in the clip about the size of the Afghan military.

Americans are used to military debacles and gigantic intelligence screw-ups after the past 50 years. What’s surprising this week is how tone-deaf Biden has been in answering criticism, seeming cold and defensive at every turn when his image as a politician is built on compassion. One pollster told Fox News a few days ago that a sample of independents graded his blame-shifting speech on Monday as an “F.” His aloofness with Stephanopoulos is in that same strange vein. Tom Rogan writes today that American allies are starting to wonder about Joe:

The British government remains comfortable with its coordination with the Biden administration on issues such as Russia, climate change, and tensions with Iran. But it is increasingly concerned that Biden is ultimately unreliable. Seeing horrific images out of Afghanistan and the apparent impotence of American power, allies have wanted reassurance. Instead, they have seen Biden sequester himself in the forests at Camp David. Some allies are now asking whether Biden even has the capacity to do his job.

This concern over Biden’s leadership detachment has significantly catalyzed Franco-German discussions on the need to develop an independent security policy. Such a development undermines Biden’s interest in developing a more coordinated Western front against China.

If you watched Tom Tughendat’s speech this morning, you know that the concerns abroad are real. In fact, there’s a rumor going around as I write this that Biden is headed back to Delaware tonight instead of remaining at the White House.

Here he was this afternoon after remarks on COVID, not taking any questions.

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