Even with all the embarrassing bumbles and gaffes he's made throughout his presidency so far, it's still somewhat unbelievable that President Joe Biden actually thought it would be cute to make a joke when asked earlier today about Americans stranded in Afghanistan during a White House gathering of Big Tech CEOs to discuss cybersecurity.
For those who missed it, apparently, some White House staffers were terrified he'd do exactly what he ended up doing, which is probably why they cut his mic, even though his answer to the question of what he would do if any U.S. citizens were left in Afghanistan after the end of the month was heard by the reporter who asked the question. According to NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander, Biden replied by saying “You'll be the first person I call.” And POTUS did indeed smirk as he gave the answer, as the video below makes clear:
REPORTER: “If Americans are still in Afghanistan after the deadline what will you do?”
*White House cuts audio feed* pic.twitter.com/k0SGWhpXm6
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 25, 2021
As per the norm, Biden did not take questions during the event. But press secretary Jen Psaki did take questions a few hours later, and Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, who is no stranger when it comes to grilling this White House, made sure to ask her about why Biden thought it was appropriate to joke about such a serious matter.
“At the tail end of the President's remarks today about cybersecurity,” Doocy said, “he was asked about Afghanistan and he made a joke. So what's so funny?”
When Psaki began to answer the question by suggesting she didn't want to inaccurately describe what Biden was asked, Doocy interjected by reminding her that this issue was “very important to a lot of people watching.”
After acknowledging that the question was indeed an important one, Psaki first started out by claiming “I think what he conveyed is that he has not -” before correcting herself by then noting it was her doing the conveying of what Biden said yesterday, likely because what he “conveyed” today when asked about the issue was something the White House would rather people forget happened.
“Well, what I can convey from here, I should say is that, as he stated yesterday and as the Secretary of State just stated, we're on track to complete our mission by August 31st,” she told Doocy.
“Obviously there are discussions,” Psaki went on, “and the President received a briefing just this morning. As I noted, he asked yesterday for contingency plans and he received a briefing on them this morning.”
“These are incredibly serious issues,” she reiterated. “And they are discussions that are happening internally.”
Watch their exchange on this issue below:
What's so funny?
Peter Doocy presses Jen Psaki as to why Joe Biden laughed about leaving Americans in Afghanistan earlier today. pic.twitter.com/CWi9imJaHA
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 25, 2021
What made the exchange so maddening was the fact that it was a reminder that this was a back and forth that should have occurred between Alexander and Biden, not Doocy and Psaki. Though you can't believe a word this administration says, Psaki at least sounded like she knew what she was talking about while Biden made a highly insensitive and flippant quip to a reporter while Americans in Afghanistan are desperate to get home and are looking to the Biden administration for answers and help.
Further, that she had to correct herself by pointing out she was conveying what Biden said yesterday and not today was an unintentionally illuminating moment for this administration because the White House press secretary was having to cover for the President of the United States on a foreign policy matter that involves American citizens in a dangerous country who don't know when or if they'll be able to get back home any time soon.
Jen Psaki should not have to be doing any clarifying and covering for Biden on this issue, and President Biden should not be reading off a teleprompter on it. He should be out front not just speaking on the topic but answering questions every single day, reassuring Americans stuck in Afghanistan and their loved ones here at home who are worried sick that help is on the way.
But he's not. He's arriving five hours late and giving scripted statements about the matter and walking away when asked about it. He then makes jokes about the dire situation during unrelated events because he either doesn't have a clue what's going on, doesn't want to answer, or a combination of both. It's scary either way you think about it.
Leaders lead, while followers merely give speeches and hope people don't notice the severity of their ineptitude. That Biden is not a leader is something we've known for decades. It's something he fine-tuned throughout his Senate career and during his time as President Obama's VP. Unfortunately, it's playing out for not just this country but for all the world to see at a crucial moment in America's history.
Needless to say, it's not a good look at all. Demoralizing, in fact. But hey, at least the Americans trapped in Afghanistan can be consoled by the fact that they don't have to be subjected to mean tweets anymore, right?