NEWS AND OPINION:
President Biden recently blamed former President Donald Trump for the Afghanistan crisis — which prompted multiple news organizations to condemn Mr. Biden’s words as inappropriate. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the partisan finger-pointing “pathetic.”
The American public concurs.
“Polling shows voters aren’t buying that the 45th president is to blame for the situation unfolding on the 46th president’s watch,” wrote Eli Yokley, a senior researcher for Morning Consult.
Indeed, 43% of the respondents said Mr. Biden bears “a great deal of responsibility for the current situation in Afghanistan, compared with 25% who said the same of Trump,” Mr. Yokley said, citing a Morning Consult survey of 1,999 registered U.S. voters conducted Aug. 13-16.
CBS News had similar findings.
Six-out-of-10 U.S. adults blame the Afghan government and 55% blame the Afghan military, according to the CBS poll, which allowed for multiple answers. Another 36% blame Mr. Biden while 25% blame Mr. Trump for the situation in Afghanistan.
“Public reaction to what’s happened there is decidedly negative, with Americans now fearing wider repercussions from a heightened threat of terrorism. Back home, the public weighs in with rough judgments on President Biden — not only for his handling of it, but with his overall presidential approval rating dropping substantially, and broader views of his qualities like effectiveness and competence taking hits along with it,” CBS said.
The poll of 2,142 U.S. adults was conducted Aug. 18-20.
Two-thirds of the respondents — 67% — said Mr. Biden does not have a clear plan to evacuate U.S. civilians. Meanwhile, 6-out-of-10 fear that the terrorism threat to the U.S. will now increase and 74% say that the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan “has gone badly.”
THE ULTIMATE OUTCOME
President Biden continues to draw criticism as the Afghanistan challenge escalates, and it does not bode well for the future, says one close observer.
“Who would trust Joe Biden in a crisis now? The simple fact is President Biden is now scrambling to solve a problem he and he alone has created. While every American can appreciate his attempts to try and bring more U.S. citizens, Allied partners, and Afghan affiliates out of harm’s way, this is a self-created crisis that never had to happen in the first place,” says Harry J. Kazianis, senior director at the Center for the National Interest.
“Is any of this really a surprise? Over his decades as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and eight years as vice president, Biden has frequently been at the center of foreign policy train wrecks. Afghanistan, while only the most current example, could prove to be the most costly. The Taliban could take thousands of Americans hostage, and America’s enemies will surely be emboldened. If Biden’s decision-making was this poor on Afghanistan would he really come to the aid of Taiwan in a crisis with China? Would he really help South Korea if North Korea attacked? What about Ukraine if Russia decided to invade?” Mr. Kazianis advises.
THE TRAVELING SECOND GENTLEMAN
We already know that Vice President Kamala Harris is currently on a tour of Southeast Asia which began Friday and includes a stop in Vietnam on Tuesday. She is not the only one on a journey, however.
Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff left Sunday for Japan, leading a U.S. delegation to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Mr. Emhoff will remain there until Wednesday, then depart for Hawaii.
On Thursday, he will meet with representatives from a community organization that empowers people with disabilities through adaptive water sports and outdoor activities, followed by a visit to a local vaccination site — and a certain rendezvous, according to a White House itinerary.
“Afterwards, Mr. Emhoff will join the Vice President at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham,” the itinerary noted.
UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OPINION POLLS
No, they haven’t gone away.
“More Americans are taking UFOs seriously than just two years ago. When asked which of two theories better explains UFO sightings, 41% of adults now believe some UFOs involve alien spacecraft from other planets, up eight points from 33% in 2019,” reports Gallup.
“Half of Americans, down from 60% in 2019, remain skeptical, saying all UFO sightings can be explained by human activity or natural phenomena. Another 9% are unwilling to venture a guess,” the pollster explains.
The survey of 1,007 U.S. adults was conducted July 6-21 and released Friday.
MEANWHILE IN TEXAS
Local law enforcement is backing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in his quest for reelection.
“He has been one of the most outspoken supporters of law enforcement and his unwavering leadership has proven he is the only qualified candidate to help us fight violent crime. With the ongoing efforts by extremists to defund police departments, Attorney General Paxton remains committed to helping police officers who risk their lives to protect families across Texas,” declares Mike Mata, president of the 4,000-member Dallas Police Association PAC.
Mr. Paxton, a conservative Republican and a fan of the tea party, replied that “our state, nation, and rule of law are currently under unprecedented duress. The post of Texas Attorney General has never been for the faint-hearted and that has never been truer than today. Now more than ever, Texas needs an aggressive, effective advocate.”
POLL DU JOUR
• 81% of U.S. adults say the U.S. should help Afghans who assisted American troops and officials to come to the U.S.; 76% of Republicans, 79% of independents and 90% of Democrats agree.
• 59% overall say the U.S. has not done enough to help other Afghans trying to leave their country; 64% of Republicans, 59% of independents and 57% of Democrats agree.
• 27% overall say the U.S. has done the “right amount” to help them; 17% of Republicans, 25% of independents and 34% of Democrats agree.
• 14% overall say the U.S. has done “too much” to help them; 19% of Republicans, 16% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.
SOURCE: A CBS News poll of 2,142 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 18-20.
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