At a Monday press conference at the White House, Biden administration press secretary Jen Psaki went after Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy for asking about Americans that he claimed to be “stranded” in Afghanistan. In reality, she insisted, Americans are not “stranded” according to a reasonable definition of the term — operations to retrieve Americans who are in Afghanistan and hoping to leave are ongoing and have been tentatively successful, with thousands and thousands already evacuated. Doocy’s apparent attempt to score potshots instead of engaging with more substantive issues wastes the time of those involved.
In response to a question from Doocy, Psaki commented as follows:
‘First of all, 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. We are in touch with them via phone, via text, via email, via any way that we can possibly reach Americans, to get them home if they want to return home.’
Doocy followed up by asking if the claim that “there are no Americans stranded” in Afghanistan is what the administration was going with, and Psaki explained in response that — clearly — she was calling out Doocy for his framing of the situation rather than over the basic premise that Americans are in Afghanistan. Claiming that there are groups of “stranded” Americans in Afghanistan would imply that there’s, at least at present, no working mechanism to get them out, but such is not true. On Sunday, Biden said “that the U.S. has evacuated nearly 28,000 people from Afghanistan since Aug. 14, including around 11,000 people in about 36 hours over the weekend,” according to NPR, and although thousands apparently remain, evacuation efforts are ongoing.
As Psaki put it in response:
‘I’m just calling you out for saying that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan when we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home. We are going to bring them home and I think that’s important for the American public to hear and understand.’
Other Republicans have also opted for highly politicized messaging amid the ongoing U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, including rhetorical attacks on Afghan refugees. Watch Psaki’s Monday interaction with Doocy below:
"I think it's irresponsible to say Americans are 'stranded'" — Jen Psaki to Peter Doocy pic.twitter.com/0ZwZ8BkZ19
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 23, 2021