A defiant and dour Joe Biden celebrated the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan in an address to the nation Tuesday, calling it an “extraordinary success” despite stranding hundreds of American citizens, thousands of Afghan allies, and close to 50 service dogs behind enemy lines.
“The extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravely(sic), and selfless courage of the United States military, and our diplomats, and intelligence perfessionals(sic),” Biden said at the beginning of the 26-minute speech.
“The past 17 days have seen our troops execute the largest airlift in U.S. history, evacuating over 120,000 US citizens, citizens of our allies, and Afghan allies of the United States,” Biden said in the statement, obscuring the fact that the massive number included 114,000 largely unvetted Afghans, and only 5,400 American citizens.
Biden attempted to blame his predecessor for causing the debacle, even as he took credit for what he called a historic, and hugely successful airlift. He also blamed those left behind for not heeding State Department warnings to leave the country.
“The bottom line: 90 percent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave,” Biden said. “For those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out.”
At the close of his speech, Biden said: “As we close 20 years of war and strife and pain and sacrifice, it’s time to look to the future, not the past.”
After concluding his remarks, Biden left the podium without answering any questions, returning briefly to grab his face mask before walking off.
Biden’s remarks were initially scheduled for 1:30 p.m., then was pushed back to 2:45 p.m. and delayed a further 44 minutes, the New York Post reported.
He began speaking at 3:29 p.m. ET, exactly 24 hours after the last American C-17 departed Kabul’s international airport. He did not take shouted questions from the White House press corps following the conclusion of his remarks.
The president echoed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s estimate from a day earlier that between 100 and 200 Americans were left behind in Afghanistan who wish to leave. But he vowed that “there is no deadline” to get those US citizens out of Taliban-controlled territory.
Moments after the final five US military transport planes lifted out of Kabul late Monday, the Taliban celebrated with a hail of gunfire and fireworks as they stormed the airport.
Footage released by the Taliban showed heavily armed fighters examining multiple Chinook helicopters, vehicles and weapons left behind by US troops at the airport.
WATCH: Taliban TERRORISTS survey their new U.S. weapons and show off piles of American money.
Joe Biden left it for them and it MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL! pic.twitter.com/zCt7as82q4
— Ronny Jackson (@RepRonnyJackson) August 31, 2021
The airport had become a US-controlled island as evacuations ramped up in the last two weeks after the Taliban seized control of the war-torn country on Aug. 15.
Thirteen US service members and more than 170 Afghans were killed at an airport gate Thursday by a suspected ISIS suicide bomber. Two weeks earlier, several Afghans were killed during tarmac stampedes as thousands desperately tried to board US evacuation flights.
Several families of the slain servicemen have gone on the record to excoriate Biden for sending their loved ones off to die in the badly botched operation, with one mother telling him to his face at Dover Air Force Base that he has blood on his hands.
Kathy McCollum, mother of slain Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, called into a local radio show to blast Bide shortly after getting the news that her son had perished. “That feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap [Biden] just sent my son to die. I woke up at four o’clock this morning, two Marines at my door telling me my son was dead. So, to [have her on] right before me and listen to that piece of crap talk about diplomatic crap with frickin Taliban terrorists who just freakin blew up my son and no, nothing, to not say anything about oh my god, I’m so sorry for families. So, my son is gone.”
After the last U.S. plane left Afghanistan on Monday, Wikipedia concluded on its “War in Afghanistan 2001-2021” page that the result of the was was “Taliban victory.”
Wikipedia just marked the War in Afghanistan as Taliban Victory pic.twitter.com/6TPnYWINAV
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 31, 2021
Biden’s National Security advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed on Tuesday that the United States will be giving aid and economic assistance to the Taliban-controlled country.
NEW: Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says the US may deliver aid & economic assistance directly to the Taliban pic.twitter.com/sb4dzpTzxx
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 31, 2021
The House Freedom Caucus introduced resolutions Tuesday calling for the resignations of Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley over the botched withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
“We call upon, most somberly, the resignation of this president, Joe Biden,” Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said at a press conference Tuesday.