The United States continues to mourn more than 100 Afghans and at least 13 U.S. service members who died after a terrorist bombing near the Kabul International Airport, where thousands were gathered in a frantic effort to escape the region after the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan amid the withdrawal of U.S. troops by August 31.
President Joe Biden—whose execution of the withdrawal from the 20 year war has been criticized as chaotic and damaging—answered questions from the White House Press Corps shortly after the attack. He took responsibility for the miscalculations that led to the botched withdrawal and vowed to find the perpetrators, promising they would pay.
A panel at the conservative Fox News network reacted to the press conference, with anchor Bill Hemmer being especially critical.
"I thought off the teleprompter, he made two great points, but when he goes to the Q&A, he just sounded soft and timid, and the sense I had is that everyone looked and sounded defeated, including the White House Press Corps, [Fox News White House Correspondent] Peter Doocy notwithstanding. That whole room, and perhaps it was appropriate for the moment, was just down."
Veteran journalist and anchor Chris Wallace gently put Hemmer's critique into perspective:
"Well, if you aren't down on a day like yesterday when you have 13 American troops killed, something is wrong with you."
Wallace went on to recall the murders of more than 200 Marines in Lebanon during the Reagan administration a year before Reagan won reelection in 1984, disputing the conservative claim that the tragedy in Afghanistan will be the undoing of the Biden adminstration.
Social media users appreciated Wallace's retort.
Hemmer's reception was not as kind.
People are divided on Biden's response in the presser.
In a daily White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said State Department officials have determined another attempted attack on the airport is likely.