White House press secretary Jen Psaki grew visibly annoyed during the press briefing Monday when she was asked whether President Biden was aware that most of the criticism against the Afghanistan withdrawal was about Americans being “stranded” in Kabul.
“Does the president have a sense that most of the criticism is not of leaving Afghanistan? It’s the way that he has ordered it to happen by pulling the troops before getting these Americans who are now stranded. Does he have a sense of that?” Fox News’ White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked.
Psaki said it was “irresponsible” to say that Americans are stranded in Afghanistan. “I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not. We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home.”
Doocy followed up and asked whether “there are no Americans stranded” is the official White House position.
“I’m just calling you out for saying we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan when we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home,” Psaki said. “We are going to bring them home and I think that’s important for the American public to hear and understand.”
Doocy later asked Psaki whether Americans being beaten up by the Taliban and Afghans passing babies over barbed-wire fences was what Biden meant when he said, “America is back.”
“What the president meant is that we are going to continue to lead in the world including being the leaders in evacuating not just our Afghan partners, not just American citizens, but also our allies,” Psaki replied.
Fox News reached out to Psaki on Saturday about an American woman who described being trapped from reaching the Kabul airport. The White House never responded.
“I really have given up hope, given up on the hope of going to the airport,” the woman, whose identity is being withheld due to concerns for her safety, told Fox News. “It’s just not possible to make it through all those people.”
She said there are as many as 20 Taliban checkpoints between her and the airport – and she’s one of an uncertain number of American citizens trapped behind enemy lines.
She was whipped by Taliban fighters on one attempt to get through, she said. A man standing near her was shot in the head on another try, leaving his wife and baby in tears. Since then, she’s been in hiding.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and Sara Ballou contributed reporting