White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was confronted about an accusation that Biden seemed to make about Americans still stranded in Afghanistan: These people had ‘multiple chances’ to leave.
“President Biden said ‘Americans who were given multiple chances to leave’ dating back several months,” the reporter said. “But things, as you just noted, changed dramatically in the last few weeks.”
“My question is: How many of those families said they wanted to stay in Afghanistan in the last few weeks?” he asked. “Two, three weeks? And is it really fair to say, for the president to say, that they didn’t leave when they had the chance?”
“As you just mentioned, no one expected the collapse as it happened, and the president himself for months was publicly saying that the Taliban would not be running things,” he added. “And also, that the exit would be safe and organized.”
“I would say first that no one is placing blame here,” Psaki said. “I think it’s important for people to understand, though, what the process has been. And while there are between one hundred and two hundred citizens who have not yet departed, we have also evacuated more than 5,500 American citizens and their family members and 115,000 other people from Afghanistan.”
“So, more than 120,000 people made their way to the airport or was able to evacuate from the country,” she went on. “It is also very understandable, and I want to be very clear here, the vast majority, if not everyone, though the State Department would have to speak to this, who is still there are dual citizens who have lived there entire lives in Afghanistan.”
“This is not an easy decision to leave,” Psaki added. “We understand that. And what the president is saying is, ‘if you decide to leave next week, if you decided two days ago and we couldn’t get you out, we’re going to get you out. And that’s what his commitment is.”
However, for what it’s worth, President Biden’s “commitment” to get these Americans out may not be worth much, given that he promised to get everyone out by the deadline or not leave Afghanistan until they have returned home.
"*" indicates required fields
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.