An old tweet from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is coming back to haunt her amid reports of the controversial July phone call between President Joe Biden and then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani amid the military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
According to a transcript of the July 23 presidential call reviewed by Reuters, Biden didn’t anticipate the Taliban’s rapid advance across Afghanistan, which ended when its fighters stormed Kabul on Aug. 15 and Ghani fled the presidential palace. Instead, Biden focused much of the 14-minute call on the Afghan government’s “perception” problem, Reuters reported.
“I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” Biden said. “And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”
PSAKI DODGES QUESTIONS ABOUT BIDEN PRESSING AFGHAN PRESIDENT TO CHANGE ‘PERCEPTION’ OF TALIBAN DOMINANCE
That exchange has fueled accusations that Biden misled the nation about Afghanistan’s stability in order to follow through with the military withdrawal despite the underlining threat from the Taliban.
However, a 2019 tweet from the then-CNN contributor called for transparency in the early weeks of then-President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal that ultimately resulted in his impeachment. It chiefly involved a phone call Trump had with counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky about investigating Biden and his son Hunter.
“It is not just the call transcript. The whistleblower complaint would likely have more details. We need both. And not just the call,” Psaki wrote at the time.
Some critics appeared to hail Psaki’s call for transparency while others called out her apparent double standard.
“100% Agree,” Spectator contributor Stephen Miller reacted, adding “Will be weird if journos decide to just ignore this one.”
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“But now you refuse to answer questions on Biden’s call with Ghani? What happened to the promise that this administration will be about ‘truth and transparency?’” political strategist VF Castro told Psaki.
Psaki did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
At the White House press briefing on Wednesday, Psaki dodged questions about Biden’s phone call with Ghani.
“Well, I’m not going to get into private, diplomatic conversations or leaked transcripts of phone calls,” Psaki said. “But what I can reiterate for you is that we have stated many times that no one anticipated … that the Taliban would be able to take over the country as quickly as they did or that the Afghan National Security Forces would fold as quickly as they did.”
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“So even the content of the reporting is consistent with what we’ve said many times publicly,” she continued. “I’ll also note something the president said in his press conference around the same time of this reported phone call: The Afghan government and leadership has to come together. They clearly have the capacity to sustain the government in place. The question is, will they generate the kind of cohesion to do it.”