Last night, President Joe Biden went on NBC to do an exclusive interview with Lester Holt.
The interview began with Biden saying he acknowledged restlessness among Americans in regards to COVID-19 when asked by Holt. Biden added that, “[The US was] now on the verge of being able to have shots for young children”, but said “it’s confusing” when asked whether the pandemic was over or not. When Holt asked if cities were moving too early in removing COVID restrictions, Biden responded that, “it’s probably too early, but it’s a tough call”.
Moving on to the crisis in Ukraine, Holt asked if we could see US troops evacuating Americans from the country if it was necessary. Biden said that there isn’t a scenario in which US troops would rescue Americans trapped in Ukraine during combat operations, continuing with, “that’s a World War when Americans and Russians start shooting at each other. We’re in a very different world than we’ve ever been in”. Holt, asking for clarification said, “Not even on behalf of simply evacuating Americans?” Biden answered by saying, “No, how do you even do that? How do you even find them?”
Holt then brought Biden’s attention to a recently released 2,000 page Army investigative report on the withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to Holt, the report claimed the Biden Administration “ignored the handwriting on the wall” and that State Department officials on the ground “were in denial of the situation”. When asked “does any of that ring true to you?” by Holt, Biden said, “No. No, that’s not what I was told.” Holt again tried to get clarification by asking, “That you were told that US administration officials were prepared?” Biden responded with, “There was no good time to get out. But if we had not gotten out they acknowledged that we would’ve had to put a Hell of a lot of more troops back in. It wasn’t just 2,000, 4,000, we would have had to significantly increase the number of troops and we would be back in this war of attrition”, continuing to say that there was no way we were going to unite Afghanistan.
The interview was then steered towards the inflation Americans have been witnessing over the past months. Holt began by saying, “Back in July you said inflation was going to be temporary. I think a lot of Americans are wondering what your definition of temporary is”. Biden responded by saying, “Well you’re being a wise guy with me a little bit. But I understand, that’s your job”. He went on to blame inflation on supply chain pressures, such as the lack of supply of computer chips. Holt then asked when Americans could expect to see some relief on inflationary pressures. Biden did not have a clear answer to the question, but said his administration would be taking steps to combat it soon.
The interview finished out with the Supreme Court. Clinton-appointed Justice Stephen Breyer recently announced that he will soon retire, giving Biden the opportunity to bring a new, likely liberal-leaning face to the court. Biden has pledged to nominate the first African-American woman to the Supreme Court. When asked about his short list of potential nominees Biden said that his list is filled with four “incredibly well qualified” individuals. When asked by Holt about Republican opposition to potential nominees in the Senate, Biden said that he’s confident Republicans will vote in favor of whoever he nominates. He continued by saying, “I’m not looking to make an ideological choice. I’m looking for someone to replace Judge Breyer, with the same kind of capacity that Judge Breyer had”.
The interview is roughly nine minutes in total and can be found at the NBC Nightly News Twitter.
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