When it was announced that Joe Biden would not give a speech on 9/11, many were shocked and dismayed that the President of the United States apparently felt it unnecessary to commemorate the 20th anniversary of one of America's greatest tragedies. Instead, former President George W. Bush spoke, as various current and former government officials gathered at the Flight 93 memorial.
Of course, it's not hard to imagine why he didn't speak in person. The president has shown little ability to control his emotions lately, likely due to his sharp mental decline, and that's led to several recent speeches in which he came across as angry and incoherent. That wouldn't have been a good scene on 9/11.
Yet, Biden did end up giving some unscripted remarks. Perhaps without the permission of his handlers, the president fielded questions from the press. What followed was an absolutely insensitive and insulting tirade that was incredibly inappropriate for the moment, complete with multiple uses of the phrase “c'mon.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 11, 2021
On a day when others are commemorating the loss of nearly 3,000 American lives on 9/11, Biden is still preoccupied with defending his disastrous, deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan. At one point, he claims Al Qaeda was “wiped out” in Afghanistan, something that's completely untrue. He then leans forward and says, “Can Al Qaeda come back, well yeah, but guess what?” before sarcastically saying “it's already back in other places, what's the strategy, every place where Al Qaeda is, we are gonna invade and have troops there…c'mon.”
I can't think of a worse time to make the argument he's making than at a memorial for victims of 9/11 who were murdered by Al Qaeda. Even if Biden believes what he's saying, just wait until tomorrow to say it. This was just not the time. Combine that with his tone and tenor, defensive and angry at times, and what transpired was very jarring.
In the second half of the clip, the president cites public approval as supportive of his decision ,before launching into a nonsensical analogy about Tajikistan. While I'm not sure what point he was attempting to make, he claims that had a C-130 been landed there, people would be hanging onto the wheel wells. Yet, that's exactly what happened in Afghanistan, with several men falling to their deaths. Has he forgotten already, or does he not realize how offensive such an analogy is?
Everything about Biden's brief interaction here was odd and out of place. It underscores exactly why he rarely takes questions, and when he does, he's usually armed with a script and a list of reporters to call on. Still, you would hope he'd have enough decency to recognize what today means and to temper himself. Apparently, even that is too much to ask of this president.