Biden Implodes in Stephanopoulos Interview

CLAY: Let’s start here with what’s going on with this ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos. He was asked, Biden was, whether or not it was a failure. I think it’s clearly a failure. Even CNN is saying so. We’ll play that for you in a sec. But first, here’s Biden saying, “I don’t know. I don’t think it was a failure.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: But we’ve all seen the pictures. We’ve seen those hundreds of people packed into the C-17. We’ve seen Afghans falling —

BIDEN: That was four days ago, five days ago!

STEPHANOPOULOS: What did you think when you first saw those pictures?

BIDEN: What I thought was (sputters) we have to gain control of this. We have to move this more quickly! We have to move in a way which we can take control of that airport, and we did!

STEPHANOPOULOS: You don’t think it could have been handled — this exit could have been handled — better in any way, no mistakes?

BIDEN: No. I — I — I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that (exasperated sputtering) W-w-we’re gonna go back in hindsight and look. But the idea that somehow there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens. I don’t know how that happened!

CLAY: That is complete and utter delusion. We’ll start here, Buck Sexton. When you hear that… First of all, it wasn’t four or five days ago that guys were falling out of the sky, the awful viral video of Afghan natives who are so desperate to flee the Taliban that they were hanging onto American airplanes, and who knows how long they were hoping to be able to hang on. But you can see them falling from the sky as they are unable to stay held onto the airplane. This is pure delusion, Buck Sexton, from Joe Biden in this interview.

BUCK: The senile emperor has no clothes. This is what we’re figuring out right now. Everyone is seeing that Joe Biden is what his critics said all along. He was never impressive. He was never someone who you would say, “Wow, this is a guy that we really admire,” and even Democrats knew that, right?

There was an understanding based on his multiple runs at the presidency in the past, this is not somebody who you’d to want give even more authority to than being a U.S. senator. But that’s what they thought they could pull off in election year, putting Joe Biden forward in a covid year as a return to normalcy.

This is worse, Clay, than anybody could have imagined because everybody would have assumed at some level… They had to know, for example, you gotta get out the Americans before you start pulling out all your troops. You actually have to take some precautions to get your own people out of this country. And, see, now we’ve finally gotten away from the, “Should we have pulled out or not?”

CLAY: That’s what he tried to make the conversation about for the first day or two.

BUCK: And now it’s, “Okay, no, what’s actually happening here?” And, Clay, right now what we’re talking about is a subdivision that is certainly very embarrassing to the United States and very embarrassing… I have so many people who served over there who are just furious.

Soldiers and airmen and people who did tours of duty in Afghanistan, they’re furious about what’s happening. And here we are looking at it from a political angle. There’s also the “this could get completely messier, worse, more horrific with a moment.” This could turn so very quickly into an even bigger catastrophe.

And this is where you start to look at the things that people talk about when you’re picking a presidents, when you’re looking at an administration. Are these individuals that you want to be in charge? Are these the people that you can trust to make good decisions?

Why is it the case that they tell us now…? You had the secretary of defense saying, “Oh, no, we can’t go out and get Americans. They have to make a choice.” Okay. Well, if the Taliban is blocking them — and they clearly are — how is that supposed to work?

CLAY: Let’s play that cut, because it also continues to demonstrate that failure. This is Secretary Lloyd Austin saying we don’t have the capability to go out and collect large numbers of people. Let’s play cuts 15.

AUSTIN: No distinction, uh, Bar, between extracting someone in an in extremis condition or — or — or circumstance versus, uh, going out and collecting up large numbers of, uh — of American citizens.

BARBARA STARR: We don’t have the capability to go out and collect Americans?

AUSTIN: W-we don’t have the capability to go out and collect up large, uhh, numbers of, uhh (sputtering) of people, Bar.

BUCK: Why? I’d like to. By the way, there may be and there are people listening who perhaps know a whole lot more about how this kind of evacuation would work. You think about it like you set up convoys, you tell Americans that this is where U.S. military’s gonna be —

CLAY: That’s a great point.

BUCK: — and the first time some Taliban checkpoint decides they’re gonna start firing off rounds at you… Now, look, that could create a situation where there is bloodshed very quickly. This is what they’re trying to avoid. I get that. But, Clay, we got thousands and thousands of Americans who are not being allowed to get out of the country. We don’t know what’s happening to them.

CLAY: They can’t get to the airport. The only place that we seem to control in all of Afghanistan right now — and “control” is in quotation marks, because I don’t think we actually have much control over it — is the airport physical structure. But even that’s not true because let’s listen to this.

Because Joe Biden is having everybody turn on him, Buck. Everybody in the media who so far had been glowing in their praise — CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the usual suspects — they’re all teeing off on him. This is Clarissa Ward, who you know, CNN’s chief international correspondent. Listen to how penetrating this analysis is of her standing right outside of the airport.

WARD: The lack of clear information, the rumor mill is in overdrive. There’s hysteria! You have Taliban fighters with whips, with guns. You have U.S. and U.K. soldiers who are not allowing people in! You have mixed messaging coming through about what kind of paperwork you need and how you can get on flight and where you can go.

I mean, it is just an absolute mess! And we heard President Biden say yesterday in his comments to ABC News that this is not a failure. And I think a lot of people outside that airport — particularly those taking the kinds of extreme actions we’re just talking about — would like to know, “If this isn’t failure, what does failure look like exactly?”

BUCK: This is actually a worse failure than people who were worried about failures anticipated was possible, Clay. I mean, this is basically the Biden administration being even more stupid, inept, and contemptible than people like me who were the critics —

CLAY: Than the worst critics could have anticipated.

BUCK: — could have ever actually thought. I mean, I would have assumed that even if they messed it up, they would have messed it up less badly than what they’ve currently done.

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: And that’s why you have people, you point out in the press — and look, credit to Clarissa Ward who I do know from my time a little bit at CNN. She’s out there on the ground wearing an abaya and basically walking around talking to everybody getting information out there. This is not about to get much better and much easier.

In fact, this could very quickly, the situation at the Kabul airport, could get substantially worse. And you can just see… Clay, I think you have an administration right now that’s just hoping and praying. They’re paralyzed. What’s the plan? The plan is to hope the Taliban lets people come through. That is the plan!

CLAY: And the hope is that, again, somebody just doesn’t start to mow down people waiting outside of that airport, right? That’s what I’m afraid is going to happen. In this chaotic situation — you know how this works — one guy has an itchy trigger finger. He gets bumped. He feels like he’s under a threat, and that spreads — that chaos — quickly.

One guy firing can quickly turn into several. And again, to me, Clarissa Ward summed it up pretty well. Give her credit. “If this isn’t failure, what does failure look like, exactly?”

BUCK: Right.

CLAY: It is the perfect counterpoint to Joe Biden saying, “I don’t think it was a failure.” She’s directly calling him out with all of the imagery of what’s going on in Afghanistan playing out behind her. And I think the big question we’re gonna have to ask here… We hope that the Americans get out safely, right? We hope that this doesn’t turn into a chaotic and incredibly violent situation. But how long is this gonna go on, Buck?

BUCK: I mean, at a minimum, you could assume that they’re gonna have to extend… Biden’s already basically said this. They’re supposed to have an August 31 deadline.

CLAY: They can’t do that now.

BUCK: Well, you also think about it this way. Why would they…? Think of the leverage the Taliban currently has, right? If you do some mirror imaging of their side of the table here, think of the leverage they currently have over the United States government. We have no ability to protect right now the thousands of Americans who are dispersed in and around Kabul, never mind if there are some who were elsewhere in the country still trying to make their way to Kabul.

We have no ability right now to go get them or even to protect them. The Taliban’s gonna want to hold this card as long as they can. And all they’re gonna say is, “Oh, we have to process them.” They can play the bureaucratic slow roll game when they’re actual playing the “we’re taking you as a hostage” card.

You know how in the Middle Ages you’d send a family member ,and they would have somebody and they would say, “Oh…” They would hold them, but they’d say, “Oh, but they’re not really a hostage.” No, they’re a hostage,” right?

CLAY: Yes. Yes. Right.

BUCK: By blocking Americans from access to the airport they create a hostage situation without actually having to seize the embassy and put guns to everybody’s head.

CLAY: And I think also, Buck, what this evidences is, we’re gonna have to be trying to extricate people from Afghanistan, well, past August 31st. But even if everything had gone perfectly, we didn’t have a plan in place to get tens of thousands of American citizens out of Afghanistan by August 31st, right?

So even if the goal had been perfectly executed, we were gonna be leaving behind tens of thousands of American citizens, and obviously that has been a much bigger disaster than the Biden administration forecast. But even if things had gone perfectly, it would have been a colossal failure.

BUCK: And, you know, Biden voted to pull funding from South Vietnam in the Senate very early on in his career, which caused that collapse and the Saigon fall in 1975.

CLAY: It’s Saigon on steroids now. He’s on both sides.

BUCK: It’s amazing to think that Biden’s been in this game that long. But Biden voted for the collapse of South Vietnam — which lasted, by the way. They fought on for two years.

CLAY: Right.

BUCK: Much different situation than we see in Afghanistan. He voted for that. And here we are, you know, 40 years later and 40-plus years later, and he’s the guy that is causing the catastrophe of withdrawal in Afghanistan. It’s stunning, the damage this guy’s done to U.S. foreign policy.