Photo: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
Photo Credit: Prachatai / CC
Published August 25, 2021
The Center Square [By Casey Harper] –
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is taking growing criticism for comments she made suggesting that Americans are not stranded in Afghanistan, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The comments came in a heated exchange at Monday’s White House press briefing with Fox News reporter Peter Doocy and have given Biden’s opponents a point to latch onto as the difficult withdrawal drags on.
“Does the president have a sense that most of the criticism is not of leaving Afghanistan?” he asked. “It’s the way that he has ordered it to happen by pulling the troops before getting these Americans who are now stranded. Does he have a sense of that?”
Psaki responded by calling the question “irresponsible.”
“I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not. We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home.”
Doocy’s quick response set up the ensuing criticism of Psaki.
“‘There are no Americans stranded’ is the White House’s official position on what’s happening in Afghanistan right now?” Doocy said in an exchange that has gone viral.
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Psaki tried to clarify her position, but it was not enough to stop the pushback to her statement.
“I’m just calling you out for saying we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan when we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home,” Psaki said. “We are going to bring them home and I think that’s important for the American public to hear and understand.”
Several media outlets have used the word “stranded” when referring to Americans in Afghanistan. The same day as the exchange, Politico reported that the Pentagon had confirmed another mission to rescue stranded Americans in Kabul.
“What’s most troubling about Psaki flatly and unequivocally lying about people being stranded … does this mean the US government is not going to rescue them?” said Erielle Davidson, senior analyst at The Jewish Institute for National Security of America.
The comments sparked major pushback for Psaki as both parties have become increasingly critical of the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal, the Taliban’s increasing demands to the U.S., and the logistical issues of evacuating Americans from Afghanistan.
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., shared a photo of the word “stranded” on Twitter with its definition, “left without the means to move from somewhere.”
“By definition, Americans are stranded in Afghanistan,” Blackburn said.
Psaki released a statement on Twitter Tuesday to follow up on her comments.
“We are committed to bringing Americans, who want to come home, home,” she said. “We are in touch with them via phone, via text, via e-mail, via any way that we can possibly reach Americans to get them home if they want to return home…”
Regardless, the criticism is not letting up as Biden continues to deflect attacks on his Afghanistan policy.
“Jen Psaki is either a liar or as clueless as Biden on how dire the situation in Afghanistan has become,” Blackburn said.
About the Author:
Casey Harper, The Center Square D.C. Bureau Reporter – firstname.lastname@example.org ~ Casey Harper is a Senior Reporter for the Washington, D.C. Bureau. He previously worked for The Daily Caller, The Hill, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. A graduate of Hillsdale College, Casey’s work has also appeared in Fox News, Fox Business, and USA Today.