White House press secretary Jen Psaki will have to circle back with reporters asking about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
An email query from the Washington Examiner sent Sunday evening to President Joe Biden’s top spokesperson prompted an automatic reply from Psaki’s account that said she “will be out of the office” Sunday through next weekend.
The request for comment included questions about when Biden plans to address the situation in Afghanistan and take questions from the media. The automatic response did include information about reaching other members of the press shop for comment. The Washington Examiner reached out to them as well.
Still, the automatic email reply from Biden’s leading connection to the media, first reported by Fox News, is sure to add to the firestorm centered on Biden’s relative absence as the U.S.-backed Afghan government falls.
Biden has been at Camp David, in Maryland, where he has been receiving updates from top U.S. officials, but is also not accessible to reporters. His absence has prompted criticism among Republicans.
“Where is Joe Biden?”, Rep. Jim Banks, a naval reservist who deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, asked on Twitter.
The White House tweeted a photo of Biden receiving a briefing on Sunday, a day marked by the Taliban entering the capital of Kabul while U.S. officials and Afghan allies scrambled to evacuate via the airport.
“This morning, the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul,” the tweet said.
Biden’s public schedule for Monday says he will stay at Camp David, and the only thing listed is him receiving the President’s Daily Brief, which is a meeting that will be closed press. The schedule is not a complete picture of what the president is expected to do in a given day.
Biden, whose two-week summer vacation plans have been disrupted due to the situation, is expected to address the nation in the next few days about the crisis in Afghanistan, either from Camp David or the White House, a senior administration official told CNN.
Meanwhile, his secretary of state, Antony Blinken, hit the Sunday talk show circuit to discuss the administration’s handling of the Afghanistan matter.
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Original Author: Jerry Dunleavy, Daniel Chaitin