Joe Biden refuses to answer questions on Afghanistan at the Sunday meeting of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In addition, Biden prompts fresh outrage by appearing to check his watch at the ceremony for US service members killed in Kabul airport bombing.
Having finished his speech at a Sunday FEMA meeting on the disastrous Hurricane Ida, Joe Biden initiated a little off-script action, offering reporters who were willing to ask questions to “go ahead” even though he was “not supposed to take any questions”.
“I’m not supposed to take any questions, but go ahead,” Biden encouraged the press.
“I’m not going to answer on Afghanistan now”, Biden snapped, slapping his hand on the desk and immediately deciding to head out.
The president had trouble finding the right direction to go and was assisted by an aide. The combination of his revelation that he was not “supposed” to do something, his refusal to take Afghanistan-related questions, along with the desk slap and the immediate departure caused some confusion and bewilderment.
The incident occurred on Sunday during a so-called dignified transfer ritual at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Biden and First Lady Jill Biden stood alongside military leaders, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and family members of the deceased as caskets containing the remains of the fallen service members were brought off a plane.
Biden and the other dignitaries stood with their hands on their hearts or saluted as the caskets were carried past them, then lowered their hands after each coffin was loaded into a van. But at one point, the president held up his left wrist and appeared to check the time while bringing his right hand down from over his heart.
The behavior may be somewhat of a habit for Biden, who has sparked criticism previously by checking the time at such awkward moments. He followed up by checking his watch again during a briefing on Hurricane Ida.
“Second time today,” Twitter user Kara Westercamp said. “Is he late for a nap since he’s presumably worked a couple hours already today?”