White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki went viral on Monday after she rejected the notion that Americans who have yet to be evacuated from Afghanistan are “stranded.”
During the White House press briefing, Fox News’ Steve Doocy pressed Psaki that the criticism towards President Biden isn’t his decision to withdraw the military from Afghanistan but “the way” the administration went about it, noting how the troops were pulled “before getting these Americans, who are now stranded.”
“Does he have a sense of that?” Doocy asked.
“First of all, I think it’s irresponsible to say ‘Americans are stranded.’ They are not,” Psaki shot back. “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.”
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“‘There are no Americans stranded’ is the White House’s official position on what’s happening in Afghanistan right now,” Doocy followed.
“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,” Psaki said.
Psaki’s fiery denunciation of the “stranded” descriptor during her heated exchange was widely panned on social media.
“This is a lie. Americans are stranded & surrounded. The entire country knows this, the entire world knows this, & you can be damn sure the Taliban know this. You should be ashamed, Psaki, cynical, convenient lies are a grave disservice to the people who need the USA now,” The Federalist senior editor Christopher Bedford scolded the press secretary.
“From our southern border to Afghanistan, it seems the Biden administration’s strategy for solving crises is to pretend they don’t exist. Open your eyes. There are multiple reports of Americans getting turned away, harassed, and beaten by the Taliban,” former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reacted.
“Americans are stranded in Afghanistan. Right now. Afghan allies who helped Americans are stranded in Afghanistan too. The Taliban controls Afghanistan. Americans & allies are stuck behind Taliban lines, and Americans & allies have been threatened, beaten, & blocked by the Talibs,” Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy wrote.
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“It’s beyond irresponsible to execute a withdrawal that leaves tens of thousands of Americans and trusted allies to fend for themselves as the Taliban goes door to door killing people. What world is @PressSec living in?” Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., asked.
“You know what’s even more irresponsible? Stranding Americans in Afghanistan,” GOP strategist Matt Whitlock tweeted.
“This is the Biden admin’s bad semantics game: they can’t be stranded because the admin says they’ll get them out but has conceded they have no idea really how,” radio host Dana Loesch wrote.
Even on CNN, Jake Tapper reacted to Psaki’s comments acknowledging the Biden administration’s efforts to rescue Americans “but there are, no doubt, Americans who feel stranded in Afghanistan right now.” CNN Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann agreed that Psaki’s comments were partly meant to reassure Americans still in Afghanistan but is “parsing words on what exactly is stranded.”
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Critics also pointed out several headlines declaring Americans were “stranded” including ABC News, Axios, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and NBC News, which used the term as recently as Sunday.