- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 18, 2021

Self-inflicted crises are piling up for President Biden.

His leadership suffered severe blows foreign and domestic in rapid succession Friday, including an acknowledgment of a misguided and deadly U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan and mounting chaos on America’s southern border.

“Joe Biden has completely lost control only 8 months in,” tweeted Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican.

The Pentagon admitted that a drone strike in Afghanistan accidentally killed 10 civilians instead of terrorist militants, as the administration initially claimed.

The Food and Drug Administration rejected plans for widespread COVID-19 booster shots, though Mr. Biden announced plans days earlier for “every adult to get a booster shot” starting Monday.



The FDA said it needs more data before approving a third shot. The vote against the plan was 16-2.

France announced an unprecedented withdrawal of its ambassador to the U.S., deepening an embarrassing feud with America’s oldest ally over Mr. Biden’s foreign policy deal-making.

The row erupted after Mr. Biden signed an agreement to build nuclear-powered submarines for Australia as part of an effort to counter China in the Indo-Pacific. It undercut France’s $100 billion submarine deal with Australia.

“We understand their position and will continue to be engaged in the coming days to resolve our differences, as we have done at other points over the course of our long alliance,” said Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the president’s National Security Council. “France is our oldest ally and one of our strongest partners, and we share a long history of shared democratic values and a commitment to working together to address global challenges.”

At the southern border, an out-of-control migrant crisis grew exponentially with a massive migrant camp — about 10,000 mostly Haitians — established underneath the international bridge in Del Rio, Texas.

The Homeland Security Department announced late Friday that it was shutting down the border crossing in Del Rio. A day earlier, the Biden administration disputed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s claim that Customs and Border Protection was considering closing the entry point.

The administration was working Saturday on plans to start flying the migrants back to Haiti. An official with knowledge of the plan told The Associated Press that eight flights per day would begin Sunday.

Most of the alarming news developed on Friday afternoon after Mr. Biden left the White House to spend the weekend at his home in Delaware.

Mr. Biden had no public events scheduled for Saturday or Sunday.

As the emergencies mounted, Mr. Biden’s job approval ratings continued to slide. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday showed Mr. Biden with the lowest numbers of his presidency and growing criticism of his handling of the pandemic and the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.

The poll showed that 44% of adults approve of Mr. Biden’s performance in office. That reflected a 9-point drop in just a few weeks.

The Pentagon admitted that the U.S. drone strike on Aug. 29, which Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley originally called a “righteous” attack on terrorists, instead killed seven innocent children and other civilians.

The needless bloodshed was roundly condemned. 

Retired Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the drone strike was a “tragic accident” and said there should be accountability for making the wrong call to do it.

Sen. Bernard Sanders, a democratic socialist from Vermont, said the strike was “unacceptable.”

“I certainly hope they understand what happened and make sure that never happens again. This is not only a human tragedy, it reflects on us before the entire world. It’s unacceptable,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Republicans piled on.

“The Biden Afghanistan catastrophe keeps getting worse,” Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, tweeted.

“Did the Taliban provide the faulty ‘intel’ that led to the Biden admin killing 10 innocent civilians, including 7 children? If so, why did Biden trust the Taliban?”

Former President Donald Trump said of the drone strike in Afghanistan, “How disgraceful that so many people have been killed because of our incompetent generals.

“The Biden administration wanted to show that they were tough guys after they surrendered to the Taliban, which left many soldiers injured or dead, and left Americans and the best military equipment in the world behind,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “Our country has never been so embarrassed or humiliated.”

Tensions also mounted over migrants congregating in Del Rio, Texas. Critics say the administration was either unable or unwilling to handle the surge of illegal immigration.

Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano, a Democrat, told the president that the number of illegal migrants in the crowd was nearing one-third of the city’s population.

Republican lawmakers called the steady flow of migrants across the Rio Grande an “invasion.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, tweeted: “The Biden Administration … Won’t let reporters in border facilities. Won’t answer questions about the crisis. And now, won’t let news drones fly over the border. What are they hiding?”

The crises escalated as Mr. Biden’s centerpiece $3.5 trillion plan for a social safety net appeared to be on the ropes. In a private meeting Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a key Democrat whose vote is needed to approve the plan, reportedly told the president to his face that he won’t support the enormous price tag.

Former President Donald Trump said of the drone strike in Afghanistan, “How disgraceful that so many people have been killed because of our incompetent generals.

“The Biden administration wanted to show that they were tough guys after they surrendered to the Taliban, which left many soldiers injured or dead, and left Americans and the best military equipment in the world behind,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “Our country has never been so embarrassed or humiliated.”

• Stephen Dinan, Jeff Mordock and Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide