Biden Snaps in Interview, Claims Ongoing 'Chaos' in Afghanistan Is Part of His Plan
Democrat says he 'priced' devastating Taliban takeover into decision making
Democrat Joe Biden snapped during an interview over questions about his decision-making regarding the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming that the ongoing "chaos" that is ensuing is all part of his plan.
During an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Biden was taking questions for the first about his administration's disastrous Afghan withdrawal.
ABC News released a series of clips of the interview shortly after Biden walked away from the White House podium without taking questions from reporters following an address.
The videos posted on social media were previews from the sitdown with Biden recorded Wednesday afternoon, with more of the interview aired on "World News Tonight."
"Back in July, you said a Taliban takeover was highly unlikely," Stephanopoulos asked.
"Was the intelligence wrong, or did you downplay it?"
"I think there was no consensus," Biden responded.
"If you go back and look at the intelligence reports, they said it was more likely sometime by the end of the year."
EXCLUSIVE: Asked about July comment that a Taliban takeover was “highly unlikely,” Pres. Biden tells @GStephanopoulos “there was no consensus” in the intelligence.— ABC News (@ABC) August 18, 2021
“They said it was more likely to be by the end of the year.” https://t.co/3HFqRzzBJg pic.twitter.com/fWo8xNj9GH
Stephanopoulos grilled the president, pointing out that Biden "didn't put out a timeline" and that he "flat-out said it was highly unlikely that the Taliban would take over."
Biden pushed back, suggesting the fall of Afghanistan was only predicated on the 300,000 Afghan troops to "somehow" collapse.
"When you look at what's happened over the past week, was it a failure of intelligence, planning, execution, or judgment?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"Look, it was a simple choice, George," Biden responded.
"When you had the government of Afghanistan, the leader of that government get in a plane and taking off and going to another country when you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained- up to 300,000 of them- just leaving their equipment and taking off, that was, you know, I'm not- that's what happened.
"That's simply what happened."
EXCLUSIVE: Pressed on whether the U.S.'s exit from Afghanistan could have been handled better, Pres. Biden tells @GStephanopoulos, "The idea that somehow, there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing—I don't know how that happens." https://t.co/mH1AyWI5lb pic.twitter.com/osAwdDQy2L— ABC News (@ABC) August 18, 2021
Biden lashed out at Stephanopolous for invoking the images that emerged on Monday between the crowded C-17 and Afghans falling to their deaths as they tried holding on to the exterior of the plane to escape the Taliban-controlled country.
"That was four days ago, five days ago," the president interrupted.
"What did you think when you first saw those pictures?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"What I thought was, we have to gain control of this," Biden responded.
"We have to move on this more quickly.
"We have to move in a way in which we can take control of that airport. And we did."
In another exchange, Stephanopoulos pressed Biden if he thought the withdrawal could have been "handled better in any way."
"No. I don’t think it could’ve been handled in a way that- we’re going to go back in hindsight and look but the idea that somehow there was a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens," Biden said.
"So for you, that was always priced in the decision?" Stephanopoulos followed.
"Yes," Biden answered.
The ABC News anchor struggled to get a straight answer out of Biden regarding the August 31 deadline set for the completion of the military withdrawal and whether the president would extend troop presence until all Americans and Afghan allies are rescued.
"It depends on where we are whether we can get- ramp these numbers up to five to 7,000 a day coming out," Biden said.
"If that’s the case, they'll all be out."
"Because we've got like 10 to 15,000 Americans in the country right now, right?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"And are you committed to making sure that the troops stay until every American who wants to be out is out?"
"Yes, yes," Biden answered.
When asked if the commitment holds for the Afghan allies, Biden replied, "The commitment holds to get everyone out that, in fact, we can get out and everyone who should come out.
"And that's the objective.
"That's what we're doing now.
"That's the path we're on.
"And I think we'll get there."
"So Americans should understand that that troops might have to be there beyond August 31st?" Stephanopoulus asked.
"No," Biden responded.
"Americans should understand that we're going to try to get it done before August 31st."
"But if we don't the troops will stay?" the anchor pressed again.
"If we don't, we'll determine at the time who's left," Biden replied before drawing a blank.
"And?" Stephanpolous followed.
"And… if there's American citizens left, we're going to stay until we get them all out," Biden finally answered.