After several days last week spent traveling back and forth between the White House, Camp David, and Delaware and changing and canceling vacation plans, President Joe Biden finally took some questions from the press Friday afternoon.
A reporter asked Biden about Americans stranded in Afghanistan outside of the relative safety of the Kabul airport and the prospects for their safe evacuation from the country. He was explicitly asked whether he would approve troops leaving the airport to assist Americans.
Biden said he did not indicate that Americans had not been able to get to the airport. And that the U.S. agreed with the Taliban to allow Americans to travel to the airport.
Soon after that, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members of Congress that “everything sounds like it’s in a good place; everyone just needs to get to the airport.”
Then on Saturday, the State Department issued a travel warning to the unknown number of Americans stranded in Afghanistan desperate to reach the airport. The alert said that U.S. citizens are advised to avoid travel to the airport and to stay away from the airport gates unless given individualized instructions from a U.S. official otherwise.
Americans were also warned to stay aware of their surroundings and to follow the orders of local authorities. Citizens were directed to monitor local media and to have a contingency plan for emergencies. The alert also asked stranded Americans to follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
It remains possible that stranded Americans could see Biden’s statements on Friday providing information utterly inconsistent with the next day’s dire travel alert from the State Department.
It is open to speculation at this point whether Biden intentionally lied on Friday or if he was receiving inaccurate information from his advisors and handlers.
Biden also told a reporter on Friday that he had heard of no criticism from U.S. allies about the situation in Afghanistan. He stated that “the truth was that he had listened to the exact opposite.”
That statement came one day after the U.K. Parliament held Biden in contempt. He was called out by name by members of Parliament from multiple political parties and the current and most recent former prime ministers for abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban without consulting NATO allies.
The mixed messaging from the Biden administration is moving quickly from a political diversion to a grave matter of life and death for stranded Americans in harm’s way.