Biden's failure to anticipate Taliban Afghanistan takeover, omicron spread shows 'inability to lead': GOP

Ronna McDaniel: Biden is untrustworthy on COVID-19 messaging

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel explains why President Biden is losing popularity and provides reaction and analysis after he addressed the rise in the omicron variant.

Top Republicans are criticizing President Biden’s failure to anticipate both the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan and the new COVID-19 variant omicron’s rapid spread, saying it reveals fatal mistakes made by the administration. 

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told Fox News that Biden has “utterly failed” to meet the challenges of both the Afghanistan withdrawal and the spread of omicron, revealing his “inability to lead the country” through crises. 

“From his disaster in Afghanistan, to the out-of-control situation at our southern border, and now his failure to prepare for the omicron variant his own administration warned about, time and again Joe Biden has utterly failed to meet the challenge and has demonstrated to the American people his inability to lead this country through crises, including those of his own making,” said Ernst.

Biden said at the end of August the “consensus opinion” was that after the U.S. withdrew all its troops from Kabul, a Taliban takeover of the country “would not occur.”

“I made the decision. The buck stops with me. I took the consensus opinion. The consensus opinion was that in fact it would not occur, if it occurred, until later in the year. It was my decision,” said Biden on Aug. 20.

President Joe Biden listens to a question as he speaks about the coronavirus at the White House on Dec. 21, 2021. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

However, the administration has been heavily criticized for being caught flat-footed by the speed of the Taliban takeover and the ensuing deadly chaos of the troop withdrawal, as well as leaving thousands of Americans and Afghan allies stranded. 

“President Biden’s own generals and the intelligence community warned him that the withdrawal from Afghanistan would result in the county rapidly falling to the Taliban. For a president who claims ‘the buck stops’ with him, he is very slow to actually take responsibility for his mistakes,” the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told Fox News.

The State Department last week admitted that it evacuated nearly 500 U.S. citizens from Afghanistan, while fewer than a dozen U.S. citizens who want to leave are still stuck there. The numbers are drastically higher than the estimates Biden originally gave after U.S. troops left by Aug. 31 and the Taliban took power. 

In addition to failing to anticipate the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan, the Biden administration is now under fire for garbling messaging on whether it saw omicron spread coming.

“Most recently, Biden has shifted the responsibility and blame of the spread of COVID-19 to the American people. Given his consistent missteps in handling the pandemic, this comes off as desperate. It is also frustrating that as Biden plays the blame game with the American people, he is choosing to not acknowledge the actual origins of COVID-19,” continued McCaul.

In recent days, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have both indicated that they were caught off guard by the severity of the omicron spread, while other administration officials have insisted that this is not the case.

“We didn’t see delta coming. I think most scientists did not – upon whose advice and direction we have relied – didn’t see delta coming,” Harris told the LA Times last week. “We didn’t see omicron coming. And that’s the nature of what this, this awful virus has been, which as it turns out, has mutations and variants.”

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during an interview with The Los Angeles Times at the White House complex on Dec. 17, 2021. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

After receiving heavy criticism for her comment, the White House attempted to clarify the vice president’s admission. “The vice president’s comments referred to the exact kind of mutation,” a Harris adviser clarified over the weekend. “The administration knew mutations were possible, it [is] the reason we ordered extra tests, extra gear and extra PPE.”

In addition, President Biden on Tuesday said the inadequate number of COVID-19 tests was due to an unforeseeable rise in cases.

“It just happened almost overnight just in the last month. And so, it’s not a failure, but an alarm bell went off. I don’t think anybody anticipated that this was going to be as rapidly spreading as it did,” Biden said when asked if the current state was due to an administration failure.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrive in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director contradicted Biden and Harris’ statements that the administration was caught off guard by omicron.

“This is what we have been preparing for,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told Fox News on “Special Report” Tuesday. “There have been doubling times of this virus in other countries that have had the virus before us in one-and-a-half- to three-day range. So this is exactly what we anticipated.”

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

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