Biden was at FEMA to address the response to Hurricane Ida, which strengthened to a Category 4 before making landfall in Louisiana earlier Sunday.
“I’m not supposed to take any questions but go ahead,” Biden told Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs.
Jacobs began, “Mr. President, on Afghanistan—”
“I’m not gonna answer on Afghanistan now,” Biden interjected before walking away from the podium.
The Republican National Committee slammed the exchange, which came three days after ISIS-K terrorists attacked the airport in Kabul, killing 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 Afghans.
Biden has faced widespread criticism over his execution of the U.S. military withdrawal in Afghanistan and his actions during and after the collapse of Kabul, which completed the Taliban’s retaking of the country 20 years after their ouster by U.S.-led forces. The president has repeatedly defended his plan while hundreds of U.S. citizens and tens of thousands of Afghan allies and Afghans vulnerable to Taliban reprisal remain stranded in the country.
Just last month, Biden assured Americans that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was not likely and that he trusted “the capacity of the Afghan military.” The president largely avoided cameras during the Aug. 15 collapse of Kabul, watching it unfold from the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.
Three days after the Kabul collapse, Biden was fiercely criticized after he gave public remarks about COVID-19 and failed to address the crisis in Afghanistan or take any questions. On Tuesday, his remarks from the White House were delayed more than four hours after being rescheduled twice, and the U.S. evacuation effort in Afghanistan was the last topic he addressed after touting his Build Back Better agenda.