Politics

Jen Psaki smacks down Fox reporter’s attempt to blame Biden for something Trump did

Jen Psaki (l)/Lauren Boebert
Jen Psaki (l)/Lauren BoebertPhoto: White House/Jeffrey Breall via Wiki

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and a Fox News reporter are among the many conservatives trying to paint President Joe Biden as soft on terrorism because, they say, he’s negotiating with the Taliban to get safe passage for Americans and others out of Afghanistan.

“As these negotiations about safe passage for Americans and [Special Immigrant Visa] holders continue,” Fox’s Peter Doocy asked at the White House press briefing yesterday, “Why haven’t we heard the president say, ‘The United States does not negotiate with terrorists’?”

Related: Jen Psaki unloads on Fox News’ Peter Doocy over his “irresponsible” question

“Is that still the U.S. policy?” he asked, implying that Biden changed a longstanding policy in order to go soft on terrorists.

The reality is more complicated than that. Former President Donald Trump negotiated the Doha Agreement in early 2020 with the Taliban that promised U.S. withdrawal and then he pulled thousands of U.S. troops from the country.

Biden has said he’s bound to Trump’s treaty. While conservative critics have argued that he should renegotiate it, it’s hard to see what leverage he could have considering he wants to pull U.S. troops out, one of the few things he and Trump agreed on. He has already moved the complete pullout deadline from May to September, but he can’t credibly threaten to keep U.S. troops in the country indefinitely when he and even many Republicans favor the more popular move: withdrawal.

So Biden’s stuck trying to find the best way to evacuate and that means dealing with the Taliban just to get Americans safely to the airport in Kabul, which Psaki pointed out with some requisite snark.

“I would also say, there’s a reality,” Psaki told Doocy, “that the Taliban is currently controlling large swathes of Afghanistan.”

Boebert is trying the same line of attack, taking it further by saying that Biden is willing to negotiate with the Taliban but not Congressional Republicans. She presumably meant that Congressional Republicans are Americans and therefore Biden would have a better time negotiating with them, not that Congressional Republicans are also considered a terrorist organization and should be dealt with accordingly.

Biden has, of course, negotiated with Republican members of Congress on a number of issues, but the comparison of the GOP to the Taliban had people scratching their heads.

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