The United States is in the midst of a foreign policy disaster, and the President has not been seen publicly in three days. He will give a speech at 3:45 Eastern Time, but this latest crisis has proved that ‘Sleepy Joe’ is more than just a cruel Trumpist moniker. It’s alarmingly accurate.
America needs a world leader, not someone who balks at cutting short his ‘August vacation.’
Biden was last seen at the White House on Thursday morning when he gave a speech on prescription drug prices. He ignored shouted questions afterward about the unfolding situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban was quickly capturing city after city. Instead of canceling his weekend trip, Biden headed to his home in Wilmington, Delaware.
The President held no public events on Friday and spent his afternoon traveling from Wilmington to Camp David, where he was meant to remain until Wednesday. The White House called a lid at 2:27 pm. Afghanistan’s second-largest city fell to the Taliban.
The White House later informed the press that the President held phone calls on Friday night. With whom? Two school superintendents in Arizona and Florida to thank them for fighting in favor of mask mandates for children in schools.
On Saturday, the Biden administration scurried to tell us that our commander-in-chief was actually on top of the events unfolding in the Middle East as the Taliban continued its takeover. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris had a ‘secure video conference with the national security team’, including the ‘Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Chief of Staff, National Security Advisor, and Homeland Security Advisor.’
Later in the day, the White House would once again assure us that Biden was at the helm by releasing a long statement that simultaneously insisted the Taliban takeover was all but inevitable but also that it was former president Donald Trump’s fault:
‘When I became President, I faced a choice — follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict.’
On Sunday, Biden did not hold any public events out from Camp David. Afghani president Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and the Taliban stormed the presidential palace, officially taking Kabul. The US Embassy in Kabul was evacuated.
The White House said that the President spent the morning on another ‘secure’ video conference with security officials. The White House posted a photo of the President sitting by himself in a blue polo staring up at his compatriots on the screen. Visible in the photo are headshots of CIA officials and location tags for other senior security officials. Former acting director of national intelligence Ric Grenell accused the Biden administration of ‘outing Intel officials’ by posting the picture.
This morning, the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul. pic.twitter.com/U7IpK3Hyj8
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 15, 2021
By Sunday night, there was still no word on when Biden would return to the White House. The schedule sent to reporters Sunday evening indicated that the President would be doing nothing the following day except receiving the usual daily presidential brief. As of 9:30 am Monday morning, the press pool relayed that there were no changes to the President’s schedule.
It was not until just after 11 a.m. that the White House relented, telling reporters that Biden would return to the White House today and deliver remarks on Afghanistan at 3:45 pm. He will only take questions from pre-approved media.
Will he answer why American citizens, equipment, and intelligence were not secure, despite his claim that the extension to the initial deadline for troop withdrawal was for security reasons? Will he answer why he strayed from the plan set out by the Trump administration, which was a conditions-based withdrawal agreed upon with the Taliban and the Ghani government? Will Biden explain why his administration was so ill-prepared for the alleged inevitable that they had to deploy 5,000 troops back to Afghanistan in the midst of a ‘withdrawal’? Don’t count on it.
Conservatives who expressed concern over Biden’s light schedule during the campaign were mocked by his allies. But it turns out fears over Biden’s lack of energy were not misplaced. Failing to address the country for three days during the disastrous (albeit necessary) end of a 20-year war signals a grave inability to do the job that is required of the commander-in-chief.