Biden’s credibility crisis spreads far past Afghanistan

President Joe Biden hopes people will soon forget the unfolding disaster he created in Afghanistan so he can turn back to issues such as COVID, the economy, and climate change. But he and his White House don’t realize just how damaging Afghanistan has been to the president’s credibility, undermining his ability to govern on every other issue.

The fundamental problem for Biden is that his claims about the situation in Afghanistan are clearly untrue, indeed, frankly incredible.

On Friday, Biden claimed during a White House press conference that al Qaeda had been completely driven out of Afghanistan. Hours later, Defense Department press secretary John Kirby could do nothing but admit that this was false. Al Qaeda is not only operating throughout Afghanistan, but according to a Pentagon inspector general report released earlier in the week, the Taliban continue to maintain their “relationship with Al Qaeda, providing safe haven for the terrorist group in Afghanistan.”

Biden also claimed during that same press conference that there was “no indication” that Americans stuck in Kabul “haven’t been able to get” to the airport. The press conference hadn’t been over for more than half an hour before CNN’s Clarrisa Ward made clear the exact opposite. “It is extremely difficult, and it is dangerous,” she reported on American efforts to reach the airport in Kabul.

Biden even claimed that he had “seen no question of our credibility from our allies around the world.” Either Biden is forgetting what he reads or else his briefers left out the leader of Germany’s conservative party calling Biden’s handling of Afghanistan “the greatest debacle that NATO has seen.” Biden also must have missed British Member of Parliament Tom Tugendhat saying it was “the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez.”

The average American doesn’t know who Tom Tugendhat is, but he does know our allies are not happy with Biden’s handling of Afghanistan. And anyone can see on television that the situation is much more chaotic and violent than Biden promised it would be just a month ago.

Biden’s false statements and empty promises are undermining him on every other issue. A recent CBS poll found Biden’s overall approval rating had fallen 8 points since April to an even 50%-50% split. But the percentage of respondents who described Biden as “competent” fell from 56% to 49%, the percentage who described him as “focused” fell from 56% to 48%, and the percentage who described their leader as “effective” fell from 55% to 47%.

An Echelon Insights poll found that Biden’s approval rating had also fallen on every issue tested, including COVID, the economy, foreign policy, and immigration. Worse for Biden, the latest Reuters poll found he had the first negative overall approval rating (46% approve/49% disapprove) of his presidency. Meanwhile, the share who believe the country is heading in the wrong direction rose to 59%.

It is no coincidence that centrist House Democrats are refusing to go along with Biden’s radical $3.5 trillion spending plan now that he has been weakened by Afghanistan. Voters don’t trust Biden on any issue other than COVID, so why should centrist Democrats tie themselves to Biden’s far-left legislative agenda?

Biden has only himself to blame for the political disaster that is enveloping him. If he always knew pulling out of Afghanistan was going to be chaotic, then he shouldn’t have said just a month earlier that it was going to go smoothly. He can’t fix that now. What he can do, however, is change the bragging, blustering, dishonest habits of a lifetime, learn some humility, take criticism seriously, and stop talking nonsense about everything being OK in Kabul.