White House Press Sec. Jen Psaki pushed back against claims that President Joe Biden was “angry” during his speech on the Afghanistan withdrawal, instead claiming he was just being forceful.
“A few of us observed [Biden] seemed angry at the beginning of his speech today, who’s he mad at?” a White House reporter asked on Tuesday.
“I’ll give you a different assessment of what I saw, which is that he gave a forceful assessment, laid out a forceful case to the American people as to why it was time to wind down a 20-year-war that has led to the loss of thousands of lives and in his view, and I think he made a firm case of this, it’s not in our national security interest to be on the ground anymore,” Psaki responded.
Biden refuted claims the Afghanistan withdrawal was poorly executed.
“Some say we should have started mass evacuation sooner, and ‘couldn’t this have been done in a more orderly manner?’ I respectfully disagree,” Biden said. (RELATED: ‘We Were Ready’: Biden Claims His Administration Was Prepared For Afghan Government To Fall As Quickly As It Did)
Biden said there still would have been a rush to the airport and a breakdown in confidence in the government.
“The bottom line is, there is no evacuation from the end of a war that you can run without the kinds of complexities, challenges, and threats we faced.”
Biden lauded the withdrawal as a success, despite more than a dozen U.S. service members getting killed in a terrorist attack outside the Kabul airport.
“The extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill bravely (sic) and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomats and intelligence professionals,” Biden said.
Biden also appeared to blame the Afghan government in part for the immediate collapse of the nation, noting the Afghan forces did not “hold on as long as anyone expected.”
The president also said the government reached out to Americans at least 19 times over the past few months to warn Americans to leave. He did acknowledge some Americans have been left behind, but appeared to insinuate their initial hesitancy to leave was the reason they were stuck there. Biden said he remains committed to rescuing those Americans.