Willie Geist Grills WH Comms Director Kate Bedingfield: How Did Biden Get Afghanistan Collapse So Wrong?
White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield defended President Joe Biden’s handling of the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan while fielding tough questions from co-anchor Willie Geist and other contributors on Morning Joe.
Bedingfield opened with an update on the status of the ongoing evacuation operation and reported that 9,000 people have been moved out since the fall of Kabul last weekend and 14,000 since July. She added, “that’s not something that happens without planning, that’s not something that just happened. The president planned for multiple contingencies. That’s why he prepositioned troops in the gulf able to move in immediately, taking control of the airport and setting up flights to get people out of the country.”
Geist then noted the scenes emerging from Kabul and said, “isn’t what we’re seeing now play out, the chaos at the airport and the fact that American troops had to go back into the country, doesn’t that make the case for having stayed long enough to get the people out first?”
“I’m glad you asked this; this is a question people have raised.,” she replied. “It’s important to remember that at any point that we began a mass evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan, it was going to signal the imminent collapse of the Afghan government it was going to be a chaotic situation whether it happened five months ago, five weeks ago or this week.”
She continued to explain that the current operations were part of a diplomatic plan. “So our effort was to continue to try to ensure that the Afghan government had the opportunity to remain in place. ” She continued, saying, “Now we’ve prepared for every contingency we knew the rapid fall of Kabul of possible, and that’s why we prepared and put the troops in the region. 48 hours after the fall of Kabul, we evacuated all of our embassy personnel to the airport without a shot fired. That’s not something that happens that requires foresight and planning, and that’s what president Biden and his team did.”
“On July 8th, President Biden as you know said a Taliban takeover of the country is not inevitable, he called it highly unlikely,” Geist noted, before asking, “How did he get that so wrong as the Taliban rolled across the country in the span of eight or nine days?”
“He was talking about whether this was a possibility and not an inevitability,” Bedingfield replied. “As we’ve seen in all the reporting the last week, the president saw a wide array of intelligence. You heard from General Milley, Director Haynes; they saw no intelligence that suggested that Kabul would fall within 11 days.”
Watch above via MSNBC.
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