The eastern seaboard is underwater, Texas is the new Taliban and Bill Maher is the voice of reason. And although America still has lots of questions about what really went down in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden is still saying, “None for me, thanks.”
The 24-hour news cycle — coupled with thousands of media outlets and a gradual return from pandemic boredom to a somewhat normal life — makes it all but impossible for anyone to truly stay abreast of all the news.
So here it is, the week that was:
- Comedian Bill Maher ripped into liberals for suggesting that Americans were the bad guys. “We’ve largely succeeded here and yet the overwhelming thrust of current woke ideology is that America is rotten to the core, irredeemably racist from the moment it was founded and so oppressive, sexist and homophobic we can’t find a host for the Oscars or Jeopardy … And this is where your new Afghani roommates that you took in will prove so valuable because they’ll turn to you and say, ‘Have you people lost your f**king minds?'”
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken pushed back on reports that U.S. officials had given lists of names to the Taliban in order to confirm who should be allowed to pass through check points and evacuate — and then immediately conceded that the U.S. had handed over passenger manifests of buses carrying individuals who were to be allowed through.
- Biden, after remarks on Hurricane Ida, walked away when reporters chose to ask him about the Americans still stranded in Afghanistan. “I’m not supposed to take any questions, but go ahead,” he told Jennifer Jacobs. After her question Biden said simply, “I’m not going to answer on Afghanistan.”
- Veteran weatherman Al Roker fired back at critics who suggested that he was too old to be reporting on the ground from a hurricane-ravaged location. “These young punks! I will come after them. I will drop them like a bag of dirt!” Roker said, prompting laughs from MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart.
- Gold Star families met with Biden following the loss of 13 American service members just days earlier in Kabul, and the meeting did not go smoothly. Family members accused Biden of looking at his watch multiple times during the Dignified Transfer ceremony and of focusing more on his own son than their family members. “You can’t f— up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry,” said Roice McCollum, sister of fallen Marine Rylee McCollum. “This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands.”
- Fox News host Greg Gutfeld mocked the Biden administration for touting the “success” of the evacuation. “This was not a successful airlift,” he said, and went on to argue that any claim it was successful was like “polishing a turd.”
- Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton laid into Biden, arguing that he had made promises to both the Taliban and to the American people, but had only kept his promise to the Taliban. “Joe Biden promised American citizens in Afghanistan he would stay until he got them out. When the rubber hit the road, Joe Biden kept his promise to the Taliban and broke his promise to Americans,” he said.
- Pentagon press secretary John Kirby passed the buck on Afghanistan, saying that the military no longer had a role in getting American citizens or allies out of the country. “We have Americans that get stranded in countries all the time and we do everything we can to try to facilitate safe passage and we have made it clear what our expectations are to the Taliban,” he said.
- A leaked phone call transcript — published by Reuters — suggested that Biden urged then Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to present a different perception “whether it is true or not,” making it appear as though the Afghan government and security forces could withstand the invading Taliban.
- Meghan McCain lashed out at Biden — a man she had often called a friend — over the fallout of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. “This is extremely difficult for me to say: I once thought I truly knew Joe Biden and he helped me through pain and grief, for which I am grateful,” she tweeted, adding, “This man on tv giving this speech, I do not recognize this man. God help our country. God help the Americans we have abandoned.”
- And to round out the week, Biden blamed the continued spread of the coronavirus Delta variant for a less-than-stellar jobs report. He gave no more answers on what happened in Afghanistan, but he did pause to say that, while he respected people who believed that life began at conception, he did not agree.