Day 84: Biden Pivots, Kamala Redirects, and Psaki Flubs.

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On Day 84, Vice President Kamala Harris unveiled her philosophy on stemming migration: giving “hope” to the Northern Triangle that help is on the way.

President Biden Announces Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan.

Joe Biden announced that full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is set to begin on May 1, 2021, and be completed by September 11, 2021, as he attempted to push the news cycle away from his party’s incitement of riots, and his government’s failure to protect the U.S. border.

“We delivered justice to bin Laden a decade ago, and we’ve stayed in Afghanistan for a decade since,” Biden said in remarks from the Treaty Room. “Since then, our reasons for remaining in Afghanistan are becoming increasingly unclear, even as the terrorist threat that we went to fight evolved.”

The president added,

“I know there are many who will loudly insist that diplomacy cannot succeed without a robust U.S. military presence to stand as leverage. We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective—not when we had 98,000 troops in Afghanistan, and not when we were down to a few thousand. Our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm’s way—U.S. boots on the ground. We have to change that thinking. American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. You know, that’s nothing more than a recipe for keeping American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely . . . Bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is degraded in Iraq—in Afghanistan. And it’s time to end the forever war.”

Biden also alluded to “a significant downside risk to staying beyond May 1st without a clear timetable for departure,” referring to the original date for troop withdrawal negotiated by former president Donald Trump.

Harris: Success In Stemming Migration “Will Not Be Obvious Overnight.”

Vice President Kamala Harris has announced her first official trip abroad to Mexico and Guatemala, but the jaunt will not include the U.S. southern border. Biden does not have plans to visit the border, either. 

Harris held a virtual roundtable with Northern triangle experts on Wednesday, describing part of her philosophy toward addressing root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle as “hope.”

“We have an opportunity—as the United States of America, with the resources and with the will that we have—to provide the people of the Northern Triangle with some hope that if they stay at home, help is on the way and they can have some hope that the opportunities and the needs that they have will be met in some way,” Harris said.

Beyond providing hope and acting with the understanding that “most people don’t want to leave home,” Harris did not describe any concrete objectives. Asked how she would evaluate success in her role, Harris replied, “There are many metrics, and I’m happy to follow up with you as we—after I talk to the experts also. . . It will not be obvious overnight.”

Psaki Assumes Individual in Police Shooting Was Black.

Press secretary Jen Psaki, asked if Biden plans to reinstate certain investigations of local police departments, seemed to assume that the subject of a recent fatal police encounter was black.

“A state trooper also fatally shot a 16-year-old in Maryland. This is on top of the shooting of Daunte Wright,” a reporter commented. “Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department had ramped up investigations of local police departments. Does President Biden plan to reinstate similar pattern-and-practice investigations to identify civil rights and other abuses in training?”

“Let me say first that all of these incidents that we’re seeing—you’ve mentioned some of them—are just a reminder that, too often in this country, law enforcement uses unnecessary force and too often that results in the death of Black Americans,” Psaki replied.

Peyton Ham, the teenager shot in Maryland, was white.


Staff Writer

The National Pulse is a part of the American Principles Project.