President Joe Biden continues to face bipartisan criticism over his rushed withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
In the final hours of a nearly 20-year war in that country, the president hinted more than once that he had been told when and how to engage with the American people amid the ongoing crisis.
Even as many Americans at home and abroad looked to Biden for steadfast leadership, his recent remarks did little to inspire confidence and assuage fears.
In fact, the latest developments seem to add more credence to the theory that he is not actually in charge of his own administration.
Biden’s approval rating has been trending downward in recent weeks and many Americans already doubted his ability to lead even before a violent terrorist attack near the Kabul international airport led to the death of 13 U.S. service members and many other casualties.
The president did not help matters when he essentially confirmed that he is not making important decisions for himself as the last American troops left Afghanistan.
Who’s in charge?
Despite making similar remarks in the past, his acknowledgement was particularly distressing as Americans watched the deadly evacuation efforts in Kabul play out.
Days after his initial remarks, Biden declared that he was not “supposed to take any questions” when he visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters during Hurricane Ida’s approach.
When he allowed a reporter to ask a question and it was related to Afghanistan, he abruptly turned and walked away.
Various other moments, including when he appeared to check his watch during a ceremony for the 13 troops killed in Afghanistan, have contributed to the impression that Biden is disinterested in the serious challenges currently facing the United States. Even some of the grieving relatives present for the ceremony described the president as distant and even insincere.