President Joe Biden hasn’t exactly followed through on running the “most transparent” administration, as he once promised on the 2020 campaign trail, and that was proven yet again over the weekend as Hurricane Ida bore down on the Gulf Coast.
According to Fox News, during a pop-in at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington D.C., Biden spoke of the U.S. government’s prepared response to Ida’s inevitable destruction before saying he’d take questions. But as the first question asked by a reporter was about Afghanistan, the president changed his mind and scurried away.
“I’m not supposed to take any questions but go ahead,” Biden said, before immediately revoking that offer when pressed by a Bloomberg reporter on Afghanistan.
Biden has taken heat for his tendency to “hide” from the press as early as his 2020 campaign days when he was often accused by many conservative pundits of relinquishing himself to the basement, which was in stark contrast to former President Donald Trump’s habit of taking virtually every question asked of him by the press.
As Biden’s humiliating blunder in Afghanistan has devolved in the past few weeks, the president has only addressed the nation a few times, with one of those addresses adding in news about a COVID-19 booster vaccine and his infrastructure deal, for which he was widely criticized for being tone-deaf.
During his stop at FEMA headquarters, Biden had to have known that taking questions about Afghanistan was inevitable, given that the Aug. 31 deadline was literally 48 hours away. But that didn’t stop him from quickly changing his mind about taking questions, as you can see in the clip below.
BIDEN AT FEMA:
President Biden: “I’m not supposed to take any questions but go ahead.”
Reporter: “Mr. President, on Afghanistan –”
President Biden: “I’m not going to answer Afghanistan now.” pic.twitter.com/lHHnPcIafN
— Forbes (@Forbes) August 29, 2021
Biden’s refusal to take questions on one of the most critically important issues facing the entire world was widely panned on social media.
Battling two fronts
The president has already taken a shocking hit in the polls during his Afghanistan fiasco that has, so far, resulted in 13 deceased U.S. service members and hundreds of Afghans. But now he’ll face the political minefield of navigating the aftermath of a major hurricane impact on U.S. soil.
One only has to look at how former President George Bush was demonized by the media and millions of Americans for what they perceived as a weak federal response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Biden, who’s struggling to stay alive politically given his foreign policy debacle, will have to find a way to execute nothing less than a flawless federal response to Hurricane Ida, which some experts say could have beaten Katrina as far as damage is concerned, though it’s too early to know, as many parts of the state have been essentially cut off from rescue and survey crews.
With the president facing strong bipartisan criticism as it stands, it would probably be wise for the frail, often-confused 78-year-old man to muster every bit of mental strength he can to show America that he’s capable of leading during tumultuous times or soon face the political consequences.