Jesse Watters and the panel on „The Five“ discussed Thursday how President Joe Biden continues to try to shift blame for the calamitous situation in Afghanistan, whether it be the U.S. intelligence community, Donald Trump, or others.
Watters noted that in short public remarks this week, Biden admitted „the buck stops with me“ but only moments after appearing to blame others for the crisis.
„President Biden says the buck stops with him, but the guy just can’t stop blaming others for the mistakes,“ Watters said. „The defensive president keeps passing the blame for the complete Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.“
The „Watters World“ host played a clip of Biden being interviewed on ABC News by anchor and former Bill Clinton communications director George Stephanopoulos:
„There was no consensus. You go back in look at the intelligence reports, they said it was more likely to be sometime by the end of the year,“ Biden told Stephanopoulos at one point.
Stephanopoulos replied by telling the president a top military adviser had recommended keeping 2,500 troops on the ground.
„No, it was split. That wasn’t true,“ Biden claimed. „No one said that to me that I can recall.“
„Biden [is] trying to throw the intelligence community under the bus,“ Watters said. „That’s three different answers he’s given: He said it in the question-and-answer session last month, ‘no’, then he said ‚it was split‘, and then again, he said ‘no’.“
Host Dana Perino added that Biden appeared to give himself a rhetorical exit by adding „not that I recall.“
„That could be the case, I’m sure he gets a lot of briefings. We know back in April in the White House briefing room, they said that the military suggested this. We knew this because it was on the front page of every paper. We covered it at the time we were following the story.“
Perino, who served as President George W. Bush’s press secretary, added that such intel reports are „a judgment call“ for the president, whose role is essentially to make tough decisions.
In further analysis, Watters noted that Trump put out a statement this week essentially telling Biden that he orchestrated the Afghan withdrawal exactly backwards:
„[Trump] said basically you get the equipment out, then you get the interpreters out, then you get the people out in the last people to come out are the military. Biden did it in reverse,“ Watters recounted.
Host Dagen McDowell later remarked that Biden has appeared truthful in that he wanted the troop drawdown to continue, specifically for the fact it would give him a political victory:
„He was focused on the troop level because that was going to be the political win. If we got them down to a few hundred, right? He was going to take them down originally, the date was 9/11 – that was just appalling – then they moved it up to late August,“ she said.
„Common sense says you get the civilians out including the Afghan allies, then the diplomats in the last people to leave are your military; the people on the ground,“ she said, later remarking that Biden could probably have called on his son Hunter to offer his own foreign policy expertise.