While the full transcript of ABC News host George Stephanopoulos’ interview with President Joe Biden is available online, it seems the network left some of his comments out of the aired footage.
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Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed during his Thursday evening broadcast that the sit-down with the president was edited in an attempt by ABC News to make Biden appear less “incoherent, confused.”
At one point, according to the transcript, Stephanopoulos asked Biden about a comment made by Army Special Forces Officer Javier McKay, who served seven tours of duty, was shot twice, and even agrees with the president’s desire to exit Afghanistan but takes issue with the way in which it was done, saying, “I just wish we could’ve left with honor.”
In response, Biden said the following:
Look, that’s like askin’ my deceased son Beau, who spent six months in Kosovo and a year in Iraq as a Navy captain and then major– I mean, as an Army major. And, you know, I’m sure h– he had regrets comin’ out of Afganista– I mean, out of Iraq.
He had regrets to what’s– how– how it’s going. But the idea– what’s the alternative? The alternative is why are we staying in Afghanistan? Why are we there? Don’t you think that the one– you know who’s most disappointed in us getting out? Russia and China. They’d love us to continue to have to–
Then, during the portion of the interview when Stephanopoulos asked Biden if he made any “mistakes” in leaving Afghanistan, the president — who stands by the exit — claimed the Taliban is “cooperating, letting American citizens get out, American personnel get out, embassies get out, et cetera.”
The ABC host stated the U.S. doesn’t “really know what’s happening outside of Kabul,” to which Biden said:
Well– we do know generically and in some specificity what’s happening outside of Kabul. We don’t know it in great detail. But we do know. And guess what? The Taliban knows if they take on American citizens or American military, we will strike them back like hell won’t have it.
Stephanopoulos also asked the president, “How will history judge the United States’ experience in Afghanistan.
Biden said it will be understood that the U.S. “overextended what we needed to do to deal with our national interest.” He continued:
That’s like me sayin’ they– they’re– they– they b– b– the border of Tajikistan– and– other– what– does it matter? Are we gonna go to war because of what’s goin’ on in Tajikistan? What do you think?
Tell me what– where in that isolated country that has never, never, never in all of history been united, all the way back to Alexander the Great, straight through the British Empire and the Russians, what is the idea? Are we gonna s– continue to lose thousands of Americans to injury and death and try to unite that country? What do you think? I think not.
I think the American people are with me. And when you unite that country, what do you have? They’re surrounded by Russia in the north or the Stans in the north. You have– to the west, they have Iran. To the south, they have Pakistan, who’s supporting them. And to the– and– actually, to the east, they have Pakistan and China. Tell me. Tell me. Is that worth our national interest to continue to spend another $1 trillion and lose thousands more American lives? For what?
Below are parts one and two of interview footage aired Wednesday during ABC News’ “Good Morning America” broadcast:
On Friday afternoon, it was reported that the U.S. paused all evacuations from Kabul over concerns its evacuation base in Qatar is becoming severely overcrowded, threatening to become a “humanitarian crisis.”
CNN reporter Clarissa Ward — who has been on the ground in Afghanistan — told the news outlet Friday morning that no flights had left the Kabul airport in eight hours, prompting her to wonder whether the U.S. government can pull off the evacuation of the 10,000 to 15,000 Americans in Kabul.
“I’m sitting here for 12 hours in the airport, eight hours on the airfield, and I haven’t seen a single U.S. plane take off,” she said. “How on earth are you going to evacuate 50,000 people in the next two weeks?”
“It just — it can’t happen,” Ward added.
After hemming and hawing on the issue, Biden, seemingly uncomfortable with his answer, promised Wednesday during his interview with Stephanopoulos that U.S. troops will stay “until every American who wants to be out” of Afghanistan is out of the country.
Just before Biden’s appearance on “Good Morning America,” neither White House press secretary Jen Psaki nor National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan could commit to bringing back every American.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stated Thursday it is “terrifyingly clear that Joe Biden doesn’t have a plans [sic] to safely evacuate all Americans from Afghanistan,” adding, “They need to get one. NOW.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence similarly criticized the Biden administration, saying, “The American people are ready to bring our troops home, but the manner in which Mr. Biden has executed this withdrawal is a disgrace, unworthy of the courageous American service men and women whose blood still stains the soil in Afghanistan.”
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