Readers ripped Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin for publishing a pair of columns full of excuses for President Joe Biden in the midst of the chaotic U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan.
Republicans, Democrats and media pundits have largely agreed Biden bungled last week’s exit. Almost as soon as U.S. troops left Afghanistan, the Taliban regained control of the country with a speed that caught the administration off-guard. Cameras captured Afghans attempting to flee the country to escape the Islamist extremist group. Biden has been defensive about his administration’s actions, arguing there was no good time to leave Afghanistan and suggesting his team could not have prevented the ensuing chaos, and has offered numerous misstatements about the situation.
But Rubin, one of the most sycophantic Biden supporters among liberal media members, lamented he had become the “obvious target” in the foreign policy debacle and the victim of a “pile-on.” Afghanistan may be in crisis mode at the moment, Rubin allowed, but she argued that does not mean Biden’s policies failed. She suggested reporters give Biden the benefit of the doubt, because to expect “a flawless exit” is “unfair” and “cowardly.”
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“But ‘chaotic’ does not equal ‘failed,’ and just because our intelligence community blew it big time — again — does not mean the United States has abandoned its Afghan partners,” she wrote in a Monday column.
In a separate piece, published Sunday, Rubin also defended Biden’s press conference performance from last week, including one of his most controversial answers. When asked about American allies who had voiced concerns about U.S. leadership in the wake of the Afghanistan crisis, Biden insisted he had heard the “exact opposite” and that U.S. allies had reiterated their confidence in the government. Many were quick to point to several instances of world leaders expressing their disapproval, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. But Rubin suggested those leaders were full of bluster.
“Biden went to great lengths to rebut the accusation that allies were dismayed, if not furious, about the United States’ pullout,” Rubin wrote. “Certainly, loud voices of disapproval popped up around the globe. (The United States is not the only democracy with grandstanding backbenchers who crave attention.)”
Along with her columns, she tweeted, “Biden is projecting confidence in the rescue operation, elevating the work of military and civilian officials.”
Rubin’s critics concluded she was out of touch with reality. The fanatically anti-Trump writer is notorious for her boosting of Democratic politicians, and she’s been rewarded for her loyalty to Biden with numerous retweets from chief of staff Ron Klain, who often promotes writers who support his boss.
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Others said she’d let her infatuation with Biden blind her to the reality on the ground.
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Rubin’s minority status was confirmed over the weekend as several outlets added to criticism of the White House. A CNN panel, for instance, blasted Biden’s “bizarre” messaging on Afghanistan.
“There’s a serious disconnect between the messaging from the Biden administration, which is essentially, ‘We’ve got this, we have a plan, we’re getting this under control. If you want to get out of Afghanistan, you can,'” the Associated Press’ Julie Pace said on Sunday’s “Inside Politics.” “And then what we’re seeing on the ground from really brave reporters who are there, from a lot of Afghan civilians who are sharing pictures of images of the scene outside the airport where, no, you cannot get out if you want to get out.”