In response to a question from a reporter on what his plans were for Americans who remain stuck in Afghanistan after an Aug. 31 deadline set by the president, Joe Biden joked, “You’ll be the person I call.”
It’s a remark that fell flat as the administration continues to grapple with the fallout of a chaotic situation on the ground in Kabul, where some 1,000 Americans reportedly remain trapped as the Taliban has taken control of the Afghan government.
“An incredibly serious issue”
According to The Washington Times, Biden’s poorly received joke came Wednesday, as the president was preparing for what the Times described as “a meeting with leaders from Silicon Valley and other industries about strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity.”
Later, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed for comment on the president’s remarks. She admitted that it’s “an incredibly serious issue” but continued to beat around the bush.
“Of course, it’s a very important question and…what I can convey from here is that as he stated yesterday and as the secretary of state just stated, we’re on track to complete our mission by August 31,” Psaki said, according to the Times.
“Resignations are needed”
The lack of transparency from the White House on Afghanistan has led to frustration among the American people and in Washington, where a growing number of lawmakers are calling for accountability on Biden’s part.
Indeed, calls for Biden and many in his administration to either step down or be impeached have spiked since an attack on the airport in Kabul on Thursday left 13 U.S. service members dead and more than a dozen others injured, according to reporting from The New York Times.
Among the loudest detractors of Biden is Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who rattled off a whole list of names of top U.S. officials who ought to be ousted for their failures in Afghanistan.
“Joe Biden, [Vice President] Kamala Harris, [Secretary of State] Antony Blinken, [Defense Secretary] Lloyd Austin and [chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] General [Mark] Milley should all resign or face impeachment and removal from office,” Blackburn said in a Thursday tweet.
“The Biden Administration had no plan and no strategy. They put Americans directly into harm’s way causing American casualties,” Blackburn added later. “Resignations are needed.”
“Not a day for politics”
Despite the criticism, the White House has continued to defend its actions, with Psaki attacking calls for Biden’s resignation as a “political stunt,” according to Breitbart.
“I would say, first, this is a day where U.S. service members, 12 of them, lost their lives at the hands of terrorists,” Psaki said, citing early numbers on the attack. “It is not a day for politics.”