PRESIDENT Joe Biden gasped for air during a sorrowful moment of silence and sparred with a reporter who asked if he bore any “responsibility” for the loss of service members in the wake of Thursday’s Afghan airport terrorist attack.
“I ask that you join me now – in a moment of silence,” a choked-up Biden almost whispered during a press conference to address the nation at the White House.
MOMENT OF SILENCE
“For all those in uniform and out of uniform, military and civilian have given the last full measure of devotion.”
Biden then shut his eyes and bowed his head.
After about 12 seconds elapsed he raised his head and took a heavy inhale of oxygen.
“May God bless you all and may God protect US troops and all those [keeping] steady watch for American.
“We have so much to do within our capacity to do it.
“We just have to remain steadfast.”
Thirteen troops and at least 60 Afghans were slain and 140 other people hurt in the attacks suspected to be an ISIS suicide bomb targeting the perimeter of Kabul Airport today.
Two explosions rattled the Hamid Karzai International Airport days before the US evacuation deadline of Aug. 31.
Thousands of Afghans had been flocking to the airport over the past 12 days with hopes they could be evacuated since the Taliban rapidly took back rule over the control of the country.
So far, there have been a reported 13 US service members were killed, including 11 Marines and one Navy medic, while 15 were injured, the Pentagon said, and reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Biden appeared at the White House podium late Thursday vowing to make pursue the suspected ISIS-K suicide bombers who conceived and executed the brutal attack where a device detonated outside the airport’s crowded Abbey Gate.
‘HUNT YOU DOWN’
“We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” the president said, staring straight into the camera.
“For those that carried out this attack as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget.
“We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command.”
‘I’M ASKING YOU A QUESTION‘
The president became less somber and terser when he fielded a question from Fox News reporter Peter Doocy.
Doocy prefaced his question that there hadn’t been any US service member killed in combat in Afghanistan since February of 2020.
He then asked the president if he bore “any responsibility for the way things have unfolded. “
Biden became cross.
“I bear responsibility fundamentally all that’s happened of late.
“But here’s the deal. But you know – I wish you’d say these things – you know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with Taliban to get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1.”
The reporter was speaking about former President Donald Trump’s deal he cut with the Taliban last year that essentially led Biden to decide to withdrawal now or face an escalation of more war, the Washington Post reported.
The president chose to withdraw.
“I had only one alternative,” he said.
“To send thousands more troops back into Afghanistan to fight a war that we had already won, relative to the reason why we went in the first place.”
He then pressed Doocy about how this was a commitment that he intended to keep and prevent further Taliban attacks.
“Remember that,” he told the reporter. “I’m being serious?
“I’m asking you a question.”
The president became more flustered after Doocy continued pressing him.
“After – Wait a minute!
“I’m asking you a question. Is that accurate to the best of your knowledge?”
Biden then shriveled, his hands folded and his chin leaning on them.
‘I HAVE ANOTHER MEETING’
After more back-and-forth, the president appeared to try to close down the press conference.
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Doocy asked: “Do you squarely stand by your decision to pull out?”
“Yes I do,” was Biden’s answer.
He then wound down his Q and A.
“And I have another meeting,” he said.