After a series of postponements and mixed signals about his itinerary in recent days, President Joe Biden finally called an end to his plans to travel home to Delaware over the weekend, as the crisis in Afghanistan showed no signs of abating, and criticism about his frequent absences continued to mount, according to the Washington Times.
Biden was notably away at Camp David last weekend when it became apparent that the Taliban takeover of the American-backed Afghan government was imminent, and as such, more than a few eyebrows were raised when reports emerged on Friday that he was on the verge of yet another escape from D.C.
As the New York Post reported Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration restricted the airspace surrounding Wilmington, Delaware over the weekend, a sure sign that the president intended to spend time there, rather than remaining at the White House to monitor the evolving situation abroad.
Indeed, when Biden’s daily schedule was ultimately released, it included a Friday afternoon departure for Wilmington that was set to follow remarks on the Afghanistan crisis delivered from the White House, the Post added.
Once those plans became public, however, the chorus of criticism must have forced a change of heart, as Biden ultimately opted not to travel on Friday, as The Hill noted, leading to speculation that he might leave Washington on Saturday instead.
In the end, it appeared that the optics of fleeing the nation’s capital as a seemingly unknown number of Americans and allies remain in harm’s way in Afghanistan were deemed by advisors to be much too harmful to the president’s image, and the choice was made for him to stay in Washington after all.
The Times indicated that the president conferred with his national security team Sunday morning on issues related to the ongoing evacuation efforts in Afghanistan and counterterrorism strategies in the region.
The Hill reported separately that Biden was scheduled to speak to the nation from the White House late Sunday afternoon to offer updated information on the situation on the ground in Afghanistan amid growing concerns about the government’s ability to get U.S. citizens and allied Afghans out of the country as security threats escalate.
If Biden had indeed traveled to Delaware over the weekend, it would have been his 19th such journey since taking office back in January, as the Times further noted, something most Americans would consider a frightening indication of just how disengaged the commander in chief really may be from his duties.