The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan (which resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. service members, with an unknown number of Americans and U.S. green card holders stranded) may have been the low point of Biden’s presidency—so far. But if Biden was hoping for a swift recovery and a revival of his poll numbers… well, he needs to keep dreaming.
Last week he announced his intention to mandate vaccines for private businesses with 100 or more employees. It reeked of a red herring designed to divert our attention away from Afghanistan as the Biden administration struggles to bring home the Americans they left behind in Afghanistan and prevent 24-hour coverage of a full-fledged hostage crisis.
To be fair, it seemed to work. But Joe Biden can’t seem to catch a break. Or maybe he and his administration really are just that incompetent.
This week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted there weren’t just 100-200 American citizens left behind in Afghanistan as the administration had claimed, but that among those we abandoned are several thousand U.S. green card holders. “These men and women are legal permanent residents of the United States,” noted Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). “When America gives someone a green card, it’s a promise that their permanent home is here in the United States with us.”
But the worst part of the week came Friday, when the Pentagon admitted that a drone strike in Kabul last month had killed 10 civilians—including seven children—not ISIS-K terrorists, as was originally claimed.
“This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport, but it was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology,” Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie of Central Command said.
Then, after insulting France by entering into a trilateral agreement with the United Kingdom and Australia to provide the latter with a nuclear submarine, France recalled its ambassador to the United States. For all the concerns from the left that Donald Trump would hurt our alliances with other nations, nothing like this ever happened on his watch, yet it adds another notch on Biden’s Incompetence Belt.
Also adding to Biden’s terrible Friday was the FDA panel’s decision not to recommend the Pfizer COVID booster shot for all Americans over sixteen—as Biden was hoping for. Concerns over an increased risk of heart issues for young males resulted in the recommendation being overwhelmingly rejected.
Biden’s only bright spot for the week, it seems, was that Gavin Newsom successfully fought off a recall in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1—hardly a victory that Biden can feel he owns or take any credit for. There’s no question that this week has left Biden politically wounded at a time he desperately needed a few wins to get his poll numbers back up.
It doesn’t look like things will change anytime soon. In fact, if Biden expected that his poll numbers would improve as Afghanistan faded from the forefront, he was really wrong.
FUN FACT: Joe Biden's poll numbers haven't recovered since his botched Afghanistan withdrawal. pic.twitter.com/jkQBYsNSCL
— Matt Margolis (@mattmargolis) September 18, 2021
What makes this situation particularly problematic for Joe Biden is that with all these failures on top of one another, the resulting impact on his approval ratings makes his agenda that much harder to push through—particularly the $3.5 trillion spending bill he so desperately wants to be passed. Biden is suffering political setbacks at a time he cannot afford to have them. With a razor-thin majority in the House and a 50-50 tie in the Senate, his popularity—or lack thereof—can make or break his priorities. Right now, it’s likely to break them.