The world watched in horror this weekend as the Taliban continued its surge through Afghanistan and ultimately completed its takeover of the country’s leadership.
Adding to the outrage felt by Americans everywhere, however, was the fact that the nation’s commander in chief was not at the White House monitoring developments in Kabul, but was instead ensconced at Camp David for yet another of what has become his customary weekends away, as Fox News reports.
In an apparent effort to reassure Americans that their president was indeed on top of the latest news from Afghanistan and in constant contact with his advisors, the White House on Saturday posted a photo on Twitter of President Joe Biden sitting alone at a large conference table during a video conference with national security personnel.
Amid the news that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had fled his own country via air and with the release of photographs of Taliban fighters inside the Presidential Palace in the capital city, the attention of many turned to the question of just where and how Biden was addressing the situation that was deteriorating with lightning speed.
During an appearance on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked simply, “Why is Joe Biden on vacation? I don’t think he’s taken one question from the press this entire weekend, so this is a frightening situation.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined in the criticism of Biden’s absence during the height of the disaster in Kabul, asking on Twitter, “Why is Joe Biden in hiding? He should immediately address the nation and answer for the catastrophic situation in Afghanistan. Conference calls between cabinet secretaries and senators don’t cut it in a crisis.”
Adding his voice to the chorus of presidential detractors was Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) who updated followers as he received official updates on the situation in Afghanistan, saying, “On the conference call briefing for members of Congress with Biden officials. It’s clear the Biden administration was caught unprepared, didn’t anticipate this catastrophe and the President is hiding & asleep at the wheel.”
As Biden’s absence continued to draw fire from all sides, a decision was made at some point to have him return to Washington Monday afternoon, where he delivered remarks about the escalating crisis from the White House East Room, as ABC News noted.
According to NPR, as of last weekend, Biden had spent just six of the first 29 weekends of his presidency at the White House, and given the ongoing rumors that he is in the grips of significant cognitive decline, it could be that his handlers simply need to keep him out of sight as much as possible, and these R&R weekends provide just the perfect cover.