Well, it’s happening. Joe Biden’s epically disastrous presidency has become too hard for even fervent Never-Trumpers to ignore.
As encouraging as this is to see, it is sadly too late for buyer’s remorse. These people publicly supported Joe Biden, assuming that he would restore normalcy and leadership to the presidency. While they’ll never admit it, I suspect they’re starting to realize that presidential leadership left the Oval Office on January 20, 2021. Trump may not have been a “normal” president, but he was an effective one who achieved great things in four short years. Joe Biden, however, has managed to mess it up rather quickly. While many Never-Trumpers would sooner blame Trump for what’s happening in Afghanistan, others have suddenly woken up to the sad fact that Joe Biden is a failure.
“I sure wish Biden had picked someone who I trusted to run the country if he disappears because he’s AWOL right now and at the rate this is going, he’s going to wind up getting impeached,” tweeted Republican strategist and Never-Trumper Liz Mair.
I sure wish Biden had picked someone who I trusted to run the country if he disappears because he’s AWOL right now and at the rate this is going, he’s going to wind up getting impeached.
— Liz Mair (@LizMair) August 16, 2021
National Review, the conservative magazine, was notoriously anti-Trump in 2016. Though some at the magazine, like Rich Lowry, started to come around to varying degrees, coverage of the Afghanistan debacle has come hand-in-hand with criticism of Biden.
“Joe Biden has been wrong about most major foreign-policy questions all of his adult life, but — as a long-time senator and then vice president — didn’t have much power to do anything about it,” the editors wrote Sunday. “That’s no longer the case, and we are now seeing the gut-wrenching consequences in Afghanistan, where Biden rejected the advice of his military and intelligence officials and ignored the clear evidence on the ground, and ordered a calamitous U.S. withdrawal.”
“Even if Biden insisted on pulling out, there was no reason to do it this heedlessly and incompetently — in the middle of fighting season and a gathering Taliban offensive, without any alternative U.S. base in the region, without any substitute for U.S. air support or the Americans contractors who kept Afghan planes in the sky, without an orderly process to get out vulnerable Afghans who helped us over the years, and without a plan to secure the airport in Kabul,” they continued.
The editors did blame the Trump administration for “[setting] in motion the events that led to the current debacle,” but refused to acknowledge that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan wasn’t set in stone and was actually entirely conditional. Still, they conceded that “this is a debacle and, more than most acts of the U.S. government, it is the responsibility of one man — Joseph Robinette Biden.”
Lowry also criticized Biden in a tweet, pointing out that the so-called justifications for supporting Biden over Trump never panned out.
For those keeping track
Biden is the wise foreign-policy hand FALSE
The Biden team is pragmatic and highly competent FALSE
Biden is restoring U.S. leadership FALSE
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) August 16, 2021
And how about Bill Kristol, the co-founder of the anti-Trump site The Bulwark? On Monday morning, he retweeted an article by Martin Amin Rahmani from his own site that was highly critical of Biden’s actions with regards to Afghanistan and quoted the opening paragraph, which basically sums up the situation perfectly: “When President Joe Biden was elected, we were promised a return to ‘normalcy,’ The grown-ups had come back into government and America would wash away the stain of President Donald Trump’s legacy. As the Taliban took Kabul over the weekend, the return to normalcy was President Biden exhibiting the same reckless callousness we had come to expect from Trump.”
"When President Joe Biden was elected, we were promised a return to 'normalcy'…As the Taliban took Kabul over the weekend, the return to normalcy was President Biden exhibiting the same reckless callousness we had come to expect from Trump." https://t.co/j8Ri17UfvM
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 16, 2021
Imagine that. I guess Never-Trumpers are learning the hard way that a few mean tweets are preferable to the incompetence and lack of leadership of Joe Biden. But, hey, it’s not like you weren’t warned. Biden’s history of being wrong on foreign policy decisions should have been a clue.
Matt Lewis, a Never-Trump conservative columnist at The Daily Beast, has also been highly critical of Biden’s Afghanistan failure. Though he thinks Trump is still partially on the hook for the situation (a misplaced criticism, as I’ve previously pointed out), he’s still calling out Biden.
If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor… https://t.co/OileUh1E68
— Matt Lewis (@mattklewis) August 16, 2021
But perhaps the most interesting criticism comes from Meghan McCain. While Trump will never be in her good graces, her endorsement of Joe Biden for his character and experience just imploded in epic fashion.
On Sunday, she called Joe Biden a coward for not having any public events on Sunday.
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) August 16, 2021
“May God forgive our country for what we have done to these people,” McCain tweeted Monday morning. “And may every single person in the Biden administration be dragged in front of congress and held accountable for this. Every single one.”
May God forgive our country for what we have done to these people.
And may every single person in the Biden administration be dragged in front of congress and held accountable for this. Every single one. https://t.co/Q0jAnJkNzs
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) August 16, 2021
Conservative Never-Trumpers are an interesting breed. They convinced themselves that Trump’s unconventional style was a reason not to support him. Perhaps they had legitimate doubts in 2016, but many of them chose Joe Biden over Trump even after he proved himself to be a conservative president. For a while, these so-called Republicans convinced themselves that Joe Biden would be competent and a uniter. Some even convinced themselves that Republicans in Congress were the problem. But it seems like the fall of Afghanistan has started to open their eyes.