In his first speech since Kabul fell to the Taliban, President Joe Biden denied responsibility for the destructive failure of his U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Now, even former Obama officials are chastising the president for his poor leadership.
Former Obama White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod questioned Biden’s lack of accountability on Monday, saying that the president should have “embraced” the failure of the withdrawal instead of deflecting to blame-shifting.
“I thought that his case for why we had to get out was strong, it was compelling, and I think he had to do that as well. But I do think that he needed to take responsibility,” Axelrod said on CNN.
“I think he would have served himself well if he had just embraced it. Yes, there were failures on the part of the — clearly — on the part of the Afghans. Yes, the government there is corrupt. Yes, Donald Trump left him with a mess. All of that is true, but he is the commander in chief now. He is in charge of this operation, and he should have said it did not go as it should have and taken responsibility for that,” Axelrod said.
When Biden spoke from the East Room Monday, he refused responsibility for his poor handling of the situation, and instead, blamed the Trump administration and the Afghan army for the dire situation. Biden repeated the myth that he was left with no choice but to follow through on Former President Donald Trump’s plan, but noticeably had nothing to say for his own administration’s completely botched operation.
Obama’s former Director of Global Engagement Brett Bruen said Monday that Biden should go as far as to fire National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who placed the blame entirely on Afghan security forces.
“The disaster that unfolded in Afghanistan is illustrative of other major issues at the White House,” Bruen wrote. “The people, plans, and processes the president has put in place to keep people safe are not working.”
It’s clear that Biden’s national security team is not operating at peak performance, Bruen said Monday on “America’s Newsroom.”
“I can say there were a number of us from the Obama administration officials who are concerned. We want nothing but the best for our country. We want nothing but the best for Biden’s team but they have had a number of unforced errors. Afghanistan is the worst of them,” Bruen said.
Along with questioning the strength of Biden’s national security team, Obama-era Afghanistan Ambassador Ryan Crocker challenged Biden’s competency as commander-in-chief, calling the Taliban takeover a “self-inflicted wound.”
“I’m left with some grave questions in my mind about his ability to lead our nation as commander-in-chief,” Crocker told the Spokesman-Review. “To have read this so wrong — or, even worse, to have understood what was likely to happen and not care.”
Biden inherited decades of war that an overwhelming amount of the country wanted to end, but the utter failures that happened under his watch, with his intelligence, and by the hand of his administration are inexcusable. Even Obama’s former officials agree that Biden can’t shirk out of that responsibility.