On Sunday, Joe Biden admitted during a televised interview that the United States is low on 155 mm artillery ammunition rounds, leading to widespread backlash for an act that essentially revealed classified military information to the entire world.
As Fox News reports, Biden made the remarks in an interview on CNN with Fareed Zakaria, while the subject of the Ukraine war was being discussed. Biden was defending his administration’s controversial decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, which he called a “transition period” until more munitions can be produced and sent to the war-torn country.
“This is a war relating to munitions. And they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it,” Biden told Zakaria in the interview. “And so, what I finally did, I took the recommendation of the Defense Department to – not permanently – but to allow for this transition period while we get more 155 weapons, these shells, for the Ukrainians.”
The crucial line from the exchange – “and we’re low on it” – has led to criticism, mockery, and warnings that a major national security secret was just leaked live to the entire world, including America’s adversaries.
“Love when the president of America goes on CNN to tell everyone we’re low on ammo,” said political operative Logan Dobson on social media.
“Joe Biden broadcasting to the world that the US is low on 155mm shells. Moron.” tweeted Steve Guest, a conservative commentator. “Does Biden not care that our adversaries in China are listening?”
Meanwhile, Biden’s main challenger in the 2024 Democratic primaries, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., criticized the decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine at all, highlighting the White House’s past statements condemning the use of such weapons.
“Last year, WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the use of cluster bombs a ‘war crime.’ Now President Biden plans to send them to Ukraine. Stop the ceaseless escalation! It is time for peace,” Kennedy tweeted.
“Biden was opposed to cluster bombs in 1982 as well, when he opposed their sale to Israel,” Kennedy pointed out in another tweet, before rhetorically asking: “What happened to his conscience?”
In response to the backlash, an Administration official was forced to do damage control by walking back Biden’s remarks, claiming that “everything we send to Ukraine is in excess of that. So, the U.S. is not running out of ammunition ourselves.”
“We are authorizing cluster munitions to ensure that Ukraine is not left defenseless while we wait for our own domestic production of ammunition to ramp up substantially, which we are in the process of doing as are our allies and partners,” the official added. “These cluster munitions are a bridge as we significantly increase production of ammunition over the coming months – and will have much higher production levels soon.”