Joe Biden was filmed crumbling after he called on Fox News journalist Peter Doocy at a press conference, only to be accused of failing to answer Doocy’s question.
Biden, 78, looked lost for words after being asked if he bore responsibility for an ISIS-K suicide attack at Kabul Airport on Thursday that killed 13 US service personnel, before bowing his head and clutching a file tightly around his hands.
He tried to throw a question back at Doocy about why Fox News was neglecting to mention that Donald Trump had confirmed the withdrawal when he was president.
But Doocy continued to push, with Biden visibly struggling after being pressed to take the blame for Thursday’s atrocity.
The worrying moment began amicably, when Biden – who told reporters he had a pre-approved list of journalists he was ‘instructed to call on’ – pointed at Doocy, and branded him ‘the most interesting guy in the press.’
Last week, a top cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra, consultant and expert in evidence-based medicine, expressed concerns about Biden’s age and mental and physical well being.
Biden – at 78 – is the oldest president and has previously suffered two brain aneurysms and a heart condition which makes the muscle beat too fast, causing dizziness and confusion.
After working his way through a list, Doocy, who also followed Biden on the campaign trail, was one of the six members of the press the president called on.
While Biden waited for Doocy to get the mic, he smirked. Then Doocy was clear and forceful in his questions.
‘There had not been a U.S. service member killed in combat since February of 2020,’ Doocy told him. ‘You set a deadline, you pulled troops out, you sent troops back in, and now 12 marines are dead,’ he said, using the death toll that has since been updated to confirm an extra fatality.
‘You said the buck stops with you. Do you bear any responsibility for the way things have unfolded the last two weeks?’
President Joe Biden bowed his head as he listened to a question from Steve Doocy of Fox News as he took questions after giving an update on the situation in Afghanistan and the deaths of 12 servicemembers
Biden griped his notebook with both hands and was quick with his first answer.
‘I bear responsibility for fundamentally all that’s happened of late,’ Biden responded. – before pointing to the deal the deal Donald Trump made with the Taliban for a May 1 departure of all U.S. troops.
‘You know – I wish one day you’d say these things,’ he told Doocy. ‘You know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1. In return the was made – that was a year before.
‘In return for the commitment, the Taliban would continue to attack others but would not attack any American forces. Remember that?’ he asked Doocy while pointing at him.
‘I’m being serious. I’m asking you a question,’ he told Doocy.
Doocy made an attempt to say something but was quickly cut off by the president- and this was the moment that Biden appeared to struggle most.
‘Is that accurate to the best of your knowledge, yes or no,’ said Biden, trying to get Doocy to commit to an answer about the
Doocy responded by saying, ‘Do you think the people have an issue with the way things have happened?’
While the Fox reporter spoke, Biden put put his face on his hands – still gripping the top of his notebook – in clear frustration.
Biden got in a tense exchange with Steve Doocy of Fox News
Thursday’s terror attack, which Biden attributed to ISIS-K, now poses a major political and military challenge
He lifted his head, took a breath to compose himself and answered.
‘I think they have an issue that people are likely to get hurt. Some as we’ve seen have gotten killed, and that it is messy.
‘The reason why, whether my friend will acknowledge it or has reported it, the reason why there were no attacks on Americans as you said from the day I came into office was because a commitment was made by President Trump: I will be out by May 1.
‘In the meantime, you agree not to attack any Americans That was the deal. That’s why no American was attacked.’
Biden seemed content with his answer and braced for the follow up question. His eyes widened and his body tensed. His hands dropped to in front of his body.
‘So you squarely stand by your decision to pull out,’ Doocy asked.
The president dug his heels in and demonstratively said, ‘Yes, I do.’
‘Because look at it this way folks, and I have another meeting for real. But imagine where we’d be if I had indicated on May the first that I was not going to renegotiate an evacuation date. We were going to stay there,’ he said.
‘I’d have only one alternative: to pour thousands of troops back into Afghanistan to fight a war that we had already won relative to the reason why we went in the first place.
‘I have never been of the view that we should be sacrificing American lives to try to establish a democratic government in Afghanistan, a country that has never once in its entire history been a united country.
‘And is made up of different tribes who have never ever ever got along with one another. So as I said before, and this is the last comment I’ll make, we’ll have a chance to talk about this unfortunately beyond because we are not out yet.
‘And so, as I said before — and this is the last comment I’ll make, but we’ll have more chance to talk about this, unfortunately, beyond, because we’re not out yet — if Osama bin Laden, as well as al Qaeda, had chosen to launch an attack — when they left Saudi Arabia — out of Yemen, would we have ever gone to Afghanistan? Even though the Taliban completely controlled Afghanistan at the time, would we have ever gone?
‘I know it’s not fair to ask you questions. It’s rhetorical. But raise your hand if you think we should have gone and given up thousands of lives and tens of thousands of wounded.
‘Our interest in going was to prevent al Qaeda from reemerging — first to get bin Laden, wipe out al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and prevent that from happening again.
‘As I’ve said 100 times: Terrorism has metastasized around the world; we have greater threats coming out of other countries a heck of a lot closer to the United States.
‘We don’t have military encampments there; we don’t keep people there. We have over-the-horizon capability to keep them from going after us.
‘Ladies and gentlemen, it was time to end a 20-year war.’
Doocy, 34, is the son of longtime ‘Fox & Friends’ co-host Steve Doocy and covered Biden on the campaign trail.
His clashes with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and the president have become White House press theater, the Washington Post reported.
Both sides seem to frustrate the other at times – especially on topics like COVID-19 – but the Washington Post reported that Psaki has acknowledged that the White House needs Doocy.
He brings the message from the White House to Fox viewers, who are unlikely to otherwise listen to the White House’s side of the story.
Meanwhile, Psaki uses the exchanges to get her sound bites shared on both of their social media accounts, The Washington Post reported.
‘We will make you pay’: Biden vows to ‘hunt down’ ISIS-K for double suicide bomb attack that killed 13 US troops and 90 Afghans and tells Pentagon to draw up airstrike plans. Takes responsibility for carnage BUT stands by troop withdrawal
President Joe Biden promised on Thursday to hunt down and destroy the ISIS-K terrorists who killed 13 American service personnel and dozens of Afghans in a double suicide attack on Kabul airport.
He paid tribute to the ‘selfless heroes’ who died helping vulnerable people to safety, but delivered a stern warning to the Islamic state offshoot behind the blasts that killed 11 U.S. Marines, a Navy medic and another service member screening evacuees at the airport gates.
The two locations targeted in the bombings were the Abbey Gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport, where US troops were screening Afghans for evacuation, and the nearby Baron Hotel, where thousands including Afghans, Britons and Americans, were told to gather in recent days before heading to the airport for evacuation.
The Pentagon warned there is still an imminent threat of attack at the airport and have now been told to draw up strike plans to hit ISIS-K assets and leadership.
‘For those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive, we will not forget,’ Biden said in an address at the White House. ‘We will hunt you down and make you pay.’
Biden spoke to the nation Thursday and took questions from the press after a day of consulting with his national security team and senior generals, while Republicans said he had ‘blood on his hands’ and demanded he resign or be impeached.
He admitted that he must take responsibility for everything that has happened in Afghanistan since deciding to withdraw – including the deaths of 13 service members – but stood by his decision to leave by August 31 and insisted the military timeline wouldn’t change.
‘Let me take the one question from the most interesting guy I know in the press,’ Biden said, directing his final question of his briefing to Fox News’ Peter Doocy.
‘You set a deadline, you pulled troops out, you sent troops back in and now 12 Marines are dead,’ Doocy said in a press conference before the latest confirmed service member death.
‘You said the buck stops with you. Do you bear any responsibility for the way that things unfolded in the last two weeks?’ he asked
‘I bear responsibility for fundamentally all that’s happened of late,’ he said, before saying he had inherited a commitment to leave Afghanistan from the previous administration.
‘Here’s the deal, you know … as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1.’
Biden revealed that he already asked his commanders for plans to strike back at the Afghan Islamic State offshoot that was responsible for the attack.
‘I’ve also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities,’ he said.
‘We will respond with force and precision at the place we choose and a moment of our choosing.’
President Biden promised to hunt down and destroy the ISIS-K terrorists who were behind the double suicide attack in Kabul on Thursday, during an at-time emotional address in the East Room of the White House
The White House tore up Biden’s schedule, postponing his first meeting with the new Israeli prime minister, so he could huddle with his national security team and get the latest assessments from Kabul before delivering an address a little after the scheduled 5pm start time
Wounded Afghans lie on a bed at a hospital after a deadly explosions outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover
The blast was outside The Baron Hotel, at the Abbey Gate of Kabul airport. Westerners were staying in the hotel before their evacuation flights
The Pentagon first publicly confirmed the blasts shortly after 6pm Kabul time on Thursday, and later confirmed a staggering US military death toll that is the highest in one day in Afghanistan since 2011.
General Frank McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, said that the attack on the Abbey Gate unfolded after at least one suicide bomber was able to get through initial Taliban screening points.
The Taliban maintains an outer perimeter around the airport, and is supposed to screen Afghans before they reach US-manned checkpoints. McKenzie speculated that the bomber may have slipped through due to incompetence among the Taliban militants.
As Marines were conducting a pat-down at a secondary checkpoint, the apparent suicide bomb detonated, creating scenes of carnage that were shared on social video.
Biden puts his head in his hands during an exchange with Fox News reporter Peter Doocy while taking questions
The bomb at the Abbey Gate struck people standing knee-deep in a wastewater canal under the sweltering sun, throwing bodies into the fetid water.
The filthy canal was filled with bloodsoaked corpses, some being fished out and laid in heaps on the canal side while wailing civilians searched for loved ones.
Those who moments earlier had hoped to get on flights out could be seen carrying the wounded to ambulances in a daze, their own clothes darkened with blood.
Biden has been under intense pressure to justify his decision to withdraw by August 31, after the way in which the Taliban raced across the country and captured the capital. That pressure reached fever pitch on Thursday as Republicans called for Biden’s resignation or impeachment.
Administration officials have been forced to negotiate with Kabul’s new rulers in order to ensure Westerners and vulnerable Afghans could reach the airport.
Warnings had grown in recent days that ISIS-K was planning a major attack. Other nations suspended their evacuation work and began flying their last remaining staff and military personnel out of the country.
But Biden said the U.S. would continue with the operation to rescue another 1000 Americans believed to still be in Kabul.
‘We will not be deterred by terrorists,’ he said. ‘We’ll not let them stop our mission.’
A bloodied patient was laying in the recovery unit at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital after being injured in the deadly explosions
A wounded man walked out of an emergency room in Kabul bloodied and with an IV bag in hand
A man who was severely injured in the deadly attacks outside the airport in Kabul laid in a hospital bed on August 26, 2021 waiting for professional care
Criticism of his handling of the crisis mounted throughout the day as Biden remained out of sight. The White House did not issue a statement and the Secretary State and Secretary of Defense also failed to appear.
Biden began his speech with a tribute to the personnel who died, his voice cracking with emotion.
‘These American service members who gave their lives – it’s an overused word, but it’s totally appropriate – were heroes … heroes who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others,’ he said.
‘They are part of an airlift, an evacuation effort unlike any seen in history.’
The White House announced soon after that flags would be flown at half staff from federal buildings.
At least 60 Afghans also died on Thursday when the two bombs went off amid the desperate clamour to escape Kabul.
The first bomber was being searched by troops when he detonated a suicide vest. The second was a car bomb attack. It’s unclear how the first bomber got through Taliban checkpoints and close enough to the Marines to kill them.
The death toll is thought to be the highest in a single incident in Afghanistan since 30 died when a helicopter was shot down in 2011.
In a statement, Islamic State claimed responsibility and said one of its suicide bombers had targeted ‘translators and collaborators with the American army.’
General Kenneth F. McKenzie, commander of CentCom, promised that the evacuation effort would continue despite the growing threat from ISIS and said he would ‘go after’ those responsible for the blasts.
He said the US military had Apache attack helicopters, MQ-9 Reaper drones, F-15 fighters and AC-130 Gunships flying over Afghanistan and warned further attacks by the terrorists were imminent.
‘We expect these attacks to continue,’ General McKenzie said, saying he was particularly concerned about the risk of further car bomb attacks.
Despite the danger, he said there was no alternative but to have troops continue to search people on the ground before they board flights, and that more than 100,000 had already been checked.
One thousand Americans remain in Afghanistan but McKenzie said not all of them want to leave. He said his personnel would work to get those who do want to leave out, but that the operation was becoming increasingly difficult as the deadline approached.
Republicans stepped up their attacks on Biden. Nikki Haley, former US ambassador to the UN, and others demanded he resign or be impeached for his handling of the the withdrawal.
H.R McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, said Thursday’s attack was ‘just the beginning.’
In this frame grab from video, people attend to a wounded man near the site of a deadly explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021
A man injured in the Kabul terrorists attacks on Thursday arrives at hospital to be treated. Among those killed in the two bomb attacks were 11 US Marines and one Navy medic
Medical staff bring an injured man to a hospital in an ambulance after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021
Horrifying footage from Kabul airport shows dozens of Afghans lying in blood after two ISIS suicide bombers attacked crowds who were hoping to flee the Taliban
Wounded women arrive at a hospital for treatment after two blasts, which killed at least five and wounded a dozen, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021
Medical and hospital staff bring an injured man on a stretcher for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021
In this frame grab from video, a medical worker attends to a person wounded in a deadly explosion at the Kabul airport, at a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan
ISIS has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s sequence of attacks. A fighter is shown in a grab from the group’s Telegram account, where they are allowed to operate
‘We are going to see horrible image after horrible image.
‘We’re going to confront the steady drumbeat of horrors inflicted on the Afghan people. What are we going to do about it?
‘Are we going to give a damn? Or is this going to be like Rwanda?’ McMaster told Yahoo News, referring to the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 people in Rwanda.
‘I would not be surprised at all if ISIS-K — in fact, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t the case — is being used by the Haqqani network as a cutout to attack us and humiliate us on our way out,’ he added.
With the Taliban in charge of the city, there has not yet been any official death toll. Witnesses suggested as many as 60 Afghans had died.
Norway, Poland, Holland and Canada have all stopped evacuating citizens.
General McKenzie said the US would keep evacuating its citizens despite Thursday’s attack and despite an ‘imminent’ threat of more attacks.
The threat they are most concerned about is another car bomb, he said, but there is also intelligence to suggest ISIS wants to launch a rocket attack too.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, left, refused to take questions at a briefing on Thursday afternoon and instead let General Kenneth F. McKenzie, the commander on the ground, speak to reporters via Zoom
Gen. McKenzie said the US would go after ISIS to retaliate if they can find the right groups. The threat of a suicide-born vehicle threat is ‘very high.’
He also said the US was working to determine how the suicide bomber got through, and that it may have been down to Taliban incompetence.
He said there was no evidence the Taliban helped facilitate the attack.
Among critics on Thursday as Trump’s National Security Adviser, H.R McMaster, who said the attacks were ‘just the beginning’
‘Clearly, if they get up to the Marines, there was a failure here. The Taliban operate with varying degrees of competence – some of these guys are good and scrupulous, and some are not,’ he said.
General McKenzie is the only person from the government to speak to reporters about the fiasco. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken only tweeted about it.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement: ‘On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I express my deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and wounded in Kabul today.
‘Terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others. We mourn their loss. We will treat their wounds. And we will support their families in what will most assuredly be devastating grief.
‘But we will not be dissuaded from the task at hand. To do anything less – especially now – would dishonor the purpose and sacrifice these men and women have rendered our country and the people of Afghanistan.’
Republicans, outraged about the terrorist attacks in Kabul that left US personnel dead, accused President Biden of having ‘blood on his hands,’ as Sen. Lindsey Graham urged the US to take back control of Bagram airbase after reports of two explosions at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
‘I have advocated for days that the Bagram Air Base should be reopened as the Kabul airport is very difficult to defend and has been the only evacuation outlet,’ the South Carolina Republican wrote on Twitter.
‘We have the capability to reestablish our presence at Bagram to continue to evacuate American citizens and our Afghan allies. The biggest mistake in this debacle is abandoning Bagram.’
‘I urge the Biden Administration to reestablish our presence in Bagram as an alternative to the Kabul airport so that we do not leave our fellow citizens and thousands of Afghan allies behind. It is not a capability problem, but a problem of will,’ Graham said.
‘The retaking of Bagram would put our military at risk, but I think those involved in the operation would gladly accept that risk because it would restore our honor as a nation and save lives.’
Lawmakers were briefed on the situation this week by Biden’s national security team.
Meanwhile, Democrat Foreign Affairs Committee chair Sen. Bob Menendez, said: ‘This is a full-fledged humanitarian crisis and US government personnel … must secure the airport.’
‘As we wait for more details to come in, one thing is clear: We can’t trust the Taliban with Americans’ security.’
House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring back the House so that lawmakers can be briefed on the situation.
‘Today’s attacks are horrific. My prayers go out to those who were injured and the families of those who were killed. I also continue to pray for the safety of our troops, the stranded American citizens, our allies and Afghan partners who remain in the area. Our enemies have taken advantage of the chaotic nature of the withdrawal,’ the California Republican said in a statement.
‘It is time for Congress to act quickly to save lives. Speaker Pelosi must bring Congress back into session before August 31 so that we can be briefed thoroughly and comprehensively by the Biden Administration and pass Representative Gallagher’s legislation prohibiting the withdrawal of our troops until every American is out of Afghanistan.’
Other lawmakers submitted an outpouring of prayers for American troops on the ground and Afghans on Twitter as they, along with the rest of the world, watch and wait to see how a series of attacks on Kabul airport unfold.
Still others demanded a forceful response and called for ‘resignations’ out of the White House. Some warned the worst could be yet to come.
Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., reupped a call for Biden to resign.
‘Biden Admin views abandoned people in Afghanistan as a political nuisance. Maybe looking at them as real people instead of ‘papers to push’ would produce rescues rather than deaths. It’s time for Biden to RESIGN NOW!!!’
‘Should Biden step down or be removed for his handling of Afghanistan? Yes,’ Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted.
‘But that would leave us with Kamala Harris which would be ten times worse. God help us.’
Injured Afghans flee Kabul airport after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive outside the Baron Hotel, killing multiple people and injuring at least three US troops
Scenes from the ground show injured Afghans being removed in wheelchairs.
Injured Afghans flee Kabul airport on Thursday night after two explosions and gunfire ripped through crowds
Afghan people who want to leave the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021
‘My biggest fear is these attacks today are just the beginning of what we will continue to see as the Administration fails to get Americans and our Afghan allies out and to safety,’ Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter. ‘We don’t need statements from the Administration right now – we need immediate resignations.’
‘At what point does Afghanistan turn from ‘Biden’s Saigon’ to ‘Biden’s Tehran Moment?” questioned Rep. Ralph Norman, R-SC. The Iran hostage crisis from 1979-1981 was considered a major failure and contributor to President Jimmy Carter’s loss in his reelection bid.
‘President @JoeBiden- you had one job. That job continues and American lives & security depend on it. Act like it,’ Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter.
Despite the escalating violence, the US’s top diplomat made the astonishing claim on Thursday morning, before the explosion, that it was ‘relatively safe’ on the ground and people should still be able to make their way there.
There is still no indication of when Biden may speak.
A White House official told DailyMail.com on Thursday: ‘The President met with his national security team this morning, including Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, Chairman Milley, and commanders on the ground.
‘He will continue to be briefed on updates on the evolving situation throughout the day.
‘There will be updates to the President’s schedule, which we will share as they become available.’
Earlier on Thursday, US troops on the ground closed gates at the airport and the State Department warned people not to congregate at the airport. Britain told its citizens to run for the Pakistan border instead.
The Taliban claimed Kabul on August 14 and there has been a frantic scramble to get Western citizens and Afghan allies out of the region by August 31, the Taliban’s ceasefire deadline.