Joe Biden’s address to the nation was roundly criticized by U.S. media, with CNN’s Jake Tapper pointing out that Biden said he took responsibility – and then blamed everyone else involved.
On Fox News, commentator Ben Domenech said that it was a speech Biden could have given ‘six months ago’, while journalist Brit Hume said Biden’s remarks ‘did nothing to explain’ the chaos.
The president had been criticized for failing to address the country sooner. Kabul fell to the Taliban on Sunday.
Tapper said that Biden was ‘forced to speak to the nation after the calamity of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.’
Jake Tapper, CNN anchor, on Monday evening criticized Joe Biden’s Afghanistan speech
Tapper was among the first to criticize Joe Biden’s speech on Monday, in which he defended the withdrawal from Afghanistan – despite the desperate scenes
Thousands of Afghans rushed to the airport in Kabul on Monday to try and board planes
He continued: ‘The president said that the buck stopped with him, but in fact the speech was full of finger pointing and blame, especially for the Afghans – even saying that, while the U.S. would be working to rescue those Americans and U.S. allies who needed to be saved, he claimed part of the reason why the US did not save sooner Afghan allies – the translators and others who work with the US military, who fear being slaughtered by the Taliban – they didn’t act sooner, the president said, because some Afghans didn’t want to leave earlier because they were hopeful about a new Afghan government.
‘Mr Biden also said that the Afghan government discouraged the U.S. from ordering a mass exodus for fear of triggering a crisis of confidence.’
Tapper said that Biden ‘focused on the larger decision to end the U.S. presence in Afghanistan,’ without addressing the debacle of departure.
‘Whether or not the U.S. should continue to be there he did not get in to, or accept any blame for the catastrophic exit we’ve been watching on television in the last several days,’ Tapper said.
Taliban soldiers are seen outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Monday
Taliban fighters stand guard along the road in Kabul on Monday, with the city firmly in their control
On Fox News, commentators lined up to criticize the speech.
Anchor Will Cain described it as ‘a masterclass in double speak,’ echoing Tapper’s bafflement at Biden’s claim to take responsibility, and his blame of Trump, the Afghan forces, and President Ashraf Ghani, who fled at the weekend.
Norman Roule, who served for 34 years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing numerous programs relating to Iran and the Middle East, said that Biden’s speech was a gift to America’s adversaries.
‘Russia, China and Iran will tell their allies: we will stand with you, but the Americans won’t,’ said Roule.
He said that there was real fear that Afghanistan could become a terrorist haven.
‘The job of U.S. counter intelligence officials just became much, much harder,’ he said.
Trish Regan, a former Fox Business host, said that Biden was ‘an empty suit causing total destruction,’ criticizing his refusal to take questions at the end of his speech.
Steve Hilton, another Fox host, said that Biden was ‘totally out of his depth’, while Charles Lister, a Syria commentator, said that the speech was ‘all about defending the withdrawal and blaming the disaster on Afghans.’
Brit Hume, a veteran Fox News commentator, said that the ‘little modest force, with the airpower that came with it,’ had been able to hold off the Taliban with success.
‘The president comes along and blows the whole thing up because he wanted to get out,’ said Hume.
Hume said that Biden had ‘utterly and completely botched’ the withdrawal.
And Ben Domench, publisher of the Federalist, said that Biden could have given the speech six months ago, accusing him of being detached from the chaos on the ground in the war-torn country.