OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Jill Biden, the wife of Joe Biden, was brought to a medical facility to have a “medical procedure.”
The news broke on Wednesday when Jill Biden was brought into an outpatient facility in Washington, DC for what the White House said was “a common medical procedure.”
She was accompanied by her husband and the two were in the facility for approximately two hours, Fox News reported.
“The first lady tolerated the procedure well and is headed back to the White House to resume her normal schedule,” Jill Biden’s communications director Elizabeth Alexander said.
The president’s schedule, meanwhile, includes a major speech where he is expected to announce that he will withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, which will be 20 years since the Al Qaeda attacks on the U.S. that led to the war.
The Trump administration had aimed to have all American forces out of Afghanistan, where the Taliban retains significant power, by May 1 if certain conditions in its negotiations with the Taliban were met. That deadline, which would have been 10 years since the death of Osama bin Laden, is now being pushed back. Still, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the withdrawal a “grave mistake” and ” a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished.”
“It is a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished and abdication of American leadership,” the Senate Minority Leader said on Tuesday. “A reckless pullback like this would abandon our Afghan, regional, and NATO partners in a shared fight against terrorists that we have not yet won.”
The Kentucky senator said he also opposed Donald Trump’s plan to remove troops from Afghanistan and Syria.
“It did not have to unfold like this. Today in Afghanistan the fighting is borne almost exclusively by our local partners. We have successfully solicited more buy-in and more support from foreign partners as well,” he said. “Our NATO allies have practically been begging the United States to stay by their side.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham also expressed his concerns with Biden’s decision.
“A full withdrawal from Afghanistan is dumber than dirt and devilishly dangerous. President Biden will have, in essence, cancelled an insurance policy against another 9/11,” he said.
On Tuesday White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed the question of Afghanistan and said that Biden had talked to Sen. McConnell directly.
“Republicans are already talking as though the announcement has happened of the withdrawal of all troops by September 11th. And so I wanted to get your reaction to something Mitch McConnell just said. He suggested that it would put our ‘NATO partners in a shared fight… that we have not yet won.’ It would ‘abandon the women of Afghanistan, whose…freedoms and human rights will be imperiled.’ He said that the administration ‘plans to turn tail and abandon the fight in Afghanistan,’” a reporter said to Psaki.
“So what is your response to this criticism and criticism from other Republicans that it’s too soon without any plans to sort of maintain stability there?” the reporter said.
“Well, again, I will leave it to the President to lay out his specific plans for withdrawing troops, the reasoning, and his commitment to focusing on the threats and opportunities we face around the world today,” Psaki said.
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“But I will say that the President has been consistent in his view that there’s not a military solution to Afghanistan; that we have been there for far too long. That has been his view for some time — well documented, well reported on.
“He believes that — and he remains committed to supporting negotiations between the parties, which, many of you may be following, are resuming next week. And he also believes we need to focus our resources on fighting the threats we face today, 20 years — almost 20 years after the war began. And so that’s his approach on how he looks at this decision, but he will lay out more specifics tomorrow,” she said.
Biden is expected to make the announcement of the withdrawal of troops on Wednesday afternoon.