US President Joe Biden has rejected claims by critics that he and his administration were “asleep on the job” as the Taliban escalated its takeover of Afghanistan in the past week.
The rapidly unfolding events in Afghanistan have prompted some Washington insiders to suggest the 78-year-old Mr Biden is not up to the job of US President.
“I want to reject completely claims that my administration is somehow to blame for what’s happened in Afghanistan or that I am not fit to be President,” Mr Biden told reporters at a White House news conference. (main picture)
“I was not asleep on the job or caught napping. I take my naps in the afternoon, every afternoon in fact. For most of every afternoon, plus a quick snooze every morning. And another in the evening just before I go to bed,” he said.
Mr Biden then launched into a spirited defence of his government’s response to the developments in Afghanistan, saying his critics were being unreasonable.
“Look, Washington time is almost nine hours behind the time in Kabul,” he explained.
“So when the Taliban entered the Afghan capital it was essentially happening in the future.
“Now I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t see into the future,” Mr Biden told reporters.
He then declared the news conference was at an end, gathered his notes and left the lectern only to pause, turn around, and return to the microphone.
“Good morning, thank you for being here today,” Mr Biden said to reporters.
“I want to reject completely claims that my administration is somehow to blame for what’s happened in Afghanistan or that I am not fit to be President,” he continued.
“I was not asleep on the job or caught napping. I take my naps in the afternoon, every afternoon in fact…..”
When a reporter interrupted him to ask if he was up to the job of being President, Mr Biden replied: “Indeed I am, and if I am elected in November I will prove it.”
At that point White House press secretary Jen Psaki intervened and led the President from the lectern.