Biden Cuts Vacation Short, Flies Back to Washington

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
August 18, 2021 Updated: August 18, 2021

President Joe Biden flew to Washington on Tuesday evening, cutting his vacation short as thousands of Americans remain in Taliban-held Afghanistan.

Marine One touched down at 9:05 p.m. at Fort McNair. Biden and a trio of assistants disembarked and walked across the grass to waiting vehicles.

They arrived at the White House about 15 minutes later.

Biden did not take questions at either location.

Biden was on vacation at Camp David, a presidential retreat situated in Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland.

Biden flew to Maryland from Delaware on Friday, a day after he left Washington. He spent the weekend in Camp David, but flew to Washington on Monday to deliver remarks concerning the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan from the White House. He took no questions after his speech and returned back to the retreat.

Thousands of Americans are believed to remain in Afghanistan, stoking safety concerns because the Taliban, which recently seized the country, is a terrorist group with a violent history.

The United States holds the Hamid Karzai International Airport but Taliban terrorists are stationed around the exterior. Afghans desperate to flee the country have been crowding the runway, at times slowing the evacuation flights.

Epoch Times Photo
Marine One, with U.S. President Joe Biden looking out the window, lands at Fort McNair in Washington after flying from Camp David, on Aug. 17, 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photo
People wait outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 17, 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)

U.S. military flights on Tuesday evacuated about 1,100 U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and their families on 13 flights, a White House official said.

In total, the U.S. military has evacuated more than 3,200 Americans, as well as nearly 2,000 Afghans who are receiving Special Immigrant Visas and being housed temporarily on U.S. bases in the United States.

U.S. officials expect the pace of evacuations to continue to increase. The Pentagon says up to 9,000 people could be evacuated each day soon if all goes well.

Biden does not have a speech scheduled to address Afghanistan again. Instead, he is slated to receive a briefing from members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team in the afternoon before delivering remarks at 4:30 p.m. “on the COVID-19 response and the vaccination program,” according to the White House schedule.

Biden is slated to speak to ABC host George Stephanopoulos, once an aide to former Democrat President Bill Clinton, in the morning.

“He will, of course, I’m certain, be speaking to the situation on the ground in Afghanistan” in the interview, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington.

White House officials are expected to announce recommendations for many Americans to get COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on Wednesday, as more and more data show the effectiveness of vaccines are waning amid the spread of the Delta variant.

Drug regulators and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week authorized and advised boosters for certain people with compromised immune systems.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.