In a Monday afternoon speech, President Joe Biden defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Taking no questions following his first comments since the Taliban ousted the U.S-backed Afghan government, Biden did not accept responsibility for the drawdown’s catastrophic execution.
“I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” the president declared. “The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated.”
The Taliban’s offensive, predicted by supposed experts to take months, captured the entire country in just over a week. Biden described the images coming out of Afghanistan — like civilians clinging to a U.S. Air Force plane — as “gut-wrenching.”
Biden also said “human rights is the centerpiece” of his foreign policy, which is somewhat belied by America’s diplomatic corps currently fleeing the country and the ongoing U.S. embassy evacuation.
The president’s remarks came amid substantial criticism of his administration’s handling of the foreign policy escapade, as chaos engulfs Kabul and the Taliban take over the presidential palace after 20 years away.
Sen. Tom Cotton, a potential presidential opponent of Biden’s in 2024, called the speech “dangerously disconnected from reality.”
“The president seemed totally oblivious to conditions on the ground. He acts as if the withdrawal is going in an orderly fashion,” Cotton claimed on Fox News. “Yet surely he can see what’s happening on the ground in Afghanistan right now, which is a direct consequence of his ill-planned, disorganized decision to withdraw.”
The Arkansan called the last few days a “chaotic, disorganized fiasco.”
Following his 15 minutes at the dais, Biden jetted back to the Maryland mountains to resume his vacation.