KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Afghanistan has fallen and COVID-19 cases have surged across the U.S. Critics point to both issues as proof that the so-called honeymoon period of Joe Biden’s presidency has ended.
FOX4’s John Holt and The Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling are joined by political analyst Jason Grill and former Missouri GOP Party Chair John Hancock to talk about the issues impacting the country.
“He’s been taking it from all directions over this, and rightfully so,” Hancock said. “I was opposed to the withdrawal when Donald Trump proposed it, and I remain opposed to the withdrawal. I don’t know that we could have ever gotten out of Afghanistan, but we’d gotten to a point where we had a very small troop presence.”
The Biden administration is getting criticism from all directions over the way the attempted withdrawal was handled. There is also criticism over the plan, or lack of one, to evacuate Americans living in the country.
“It’s tragic and it’s doing irreparable harm to America’s reputation and who in the world is gonna trust us to have their backs when we say we’re gonna have their backs. It’s just bad,” Hancock said.
“We were providing intel to the Afghan army, and they were, contrary to what the President said, they were fighting. 50,000 of them have died defending their country over the last seven years or so,” Hancock said. “We were providing air cover for that army and they were effectively keeping the Taliban at bay.”
While the majority of the U.S. supports the idea of troops withdrawing from Afghanistan, President Biden’s approval rating dropped under 50% for the first time since he took office. Helling wondered if the issue will linger into next year’s midterm elections, or if Americans will have forgotten about the failed mission by then.
“We’ve got so much time left. I think at that point, we’ll see where we’re at,” Grill said. “I would assume that at that point it may not be the hot issue that it is now.”
“There’s undoubtedly going to be 5,6,10, major issues that pop between now and then,” Hancock said. “Afghanistan will be a factor, and if it gets worse in the next couple of weeks, if Americans begin getting killed over there then that’s going to be calamitous politically.”
The issues aren’t just overseas. Issues in Afghanistan could end up spilling over into domestic issues for President Biden. The inflation rate and the economy will also be key issues in next year’s election.
“If the cost of a gallon of milk is another buck higher than it is today, or gas is $4 a gallon, that potentially has a greater impact on midterm decisions than who lost Afghanistan,” Helling added.
Plus, there’s the issue of COVID-19 and the fact that it won’t go away that’s adding to the stress of everything.
“I mean Garth Brooks was just in Kansas City, I think he announced that he’s stopped his tour,” Grill said. “We’re seeing all kinds of changes happening, obviously having the back-to-school issues with local municipalities and school boards, so he has a lot of issues on his plate right now.”
As the Biden administration pushes the message of vaccination, the CDC approved a plan to allow everyone age 12 and older to get a COVID-19 booster about 8 months after their initial vaccine. That decision is getting some bipartisan support.
“Today we saw some Republicans come out in support of the booster shot, you know, getting that and there is more messaging around getting vaccinated from the Republicans than I’ve seen in awhile.,” Grill added.
The Biden administration will also require that nursing home staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition for those facilities to continue receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding.
President Joe Biden announced the move Wednesday afternoon as the administration continues to look for ways to use mandates to encourage vaccine holdouts to get shots.
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