Jen Psaki Tries To Rewrite History On Biden’s Infamous Watch-Checking Moment In New Book: REPORT

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Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed that President Joe Biden did not check his watch while he was attending a ceremony honoring soldiers who were killed during the administration’s 2021 botched Afghanistan withdrawal, according to an excerpt obtained by Axios.

While awaiting the fallen soldiers from overseas, images and videos were captured of Biden checking his watch, a moment that received backlash from Republicans and former President Donald Trump’s team alike. Psaki writes about the infamous moment in her new book, “Say More,” obtained by Axios, saying that the president only checked his watch after the ceremony had concluded, rather than during. (RELATED: Biden Quietly Releases Late-Night Statement On Afghanistan Withdrawal Anniversary)

“The president looked at his watch only after the ceremony had ended. Moments later, he and the First Lady headed toward their car,” Psaki writes in her book, according to Axios.

Psaki goes on to add that those who criticized the president for the moment used it to make Biden “appear insensitive, concerned only about how much time had passed,” Axios reported.

The claim in the book contradicts several fact checks from September 2021, which state that the president checked his watch multiple times across the dignified transfer of the soldiers and the ceremony. USA Today notes that Biden did once check his watch at the end of the dignified transfer of the soldiers but that he also looked at his watch during the ceremony.

Just ten minutes apart, The Associated Press (AP) snapped two photos showing Biden checking his watch during the ceremony, according to USA Today.

“A video from C-SPAN shows Biden checking his watch once, near the end of the dignified transfer ceremony,” USA Today’s fact check writes.

“Footage leading up to the moment, which was widely shared on social media, shows Biden with his hand over his heart for about 30 seconds as vans carried the service members’ remains off the tarmac. After the vans left, Biden closed his eyes briefly before dropping his arms and glancing down at his watch,” the fact check continues.

Snopes rated the claim that Biden checked his watch at least twice during the dignified transfer as true.

Several eyewitness accounts also contradict Psaki’s claim, according to Axios.

“While I stood there on the tarmac watching you check your watch over and over again, all I wanted to do was shout out, ‘It’s two fucking thirty, asshole,'” Mark Schmitz, the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, said during a Congressional roundtable in 2023.

After Axios’ report on the excerpt had been published, Psaki told Axios that the “detail in a few lines of the book about the exact number of times he looked at his watch will be removed in future reprints and the ebook.”

“The story on Afghanistan is really about the importance of delivering feedback even when it is difficult told through my own experience of telling President Biden that his own story of loss was not well received by the families who were grieving their sons and daughters,” Psaki added.

The president faced immediate backlash for how his administration conducted its Afghanistan withdrawal, which resulted in 13 American personnel dying from a terrorist attack in Kabul. Following the withdrawal, Gold Star families have called for Biden to resign.

Despite the backlash and lost American lives, Biden reportedly believes that no one made a mistake during the operation. Amid the backlash, no one offered to resign while the president told his aides that he stood by them, according to Politico’s Alexander Ward’s “The Internationalists: The Fight to Restore Foreign Policy After Trump,” which was obtained early by Axios. (RELATED: Biden ‘Exploded In Frustration’ When He Heard Afghanistan Was About To Collapse During His Vacation, Book Claims)

“Biden told his top aides, [National Security Advisor Jake] Sullivan included, that he stood by them and they had done their best during a tough situation,” the book continues.

The Biden administration conducted an internal review of its withdrawal in April 2023. The administration’s report blamed former President Donald Trump for the “challenges” of the withdrawal, writing that the former president ordered talks with the Taliban and negotiated a withdrawal date but failed to leave the Biden administration a comprehensive plan on how to do so.

Nearly two years later in April 2023, White House national security council spokesman John Kirby said that Biden was “proud” of how the administration carried out its withdrawal.