Tuesday 30 January 2024

Reporter Asks If Biden Will Consult Polls Before Striking Iran-Backed Terrorists — And Kirby Blows Up

 National Security Counsel spokesman John Kirby took number of questions about the weekend drone strike that killed three American service-members and wounded more than a dozen — but he became visibly irritated when one reporter asked whether President Joe Biden would weigh public opinion polls when he considered any military response.

The exchange took place during Monday’s press briefing, not even 48 hours after most Americans learned of the drone attack in Jordan, near the Syrian border — perpetrated, as many such recent attacks have been — by Iran-backed terrorist groups throughout the region.


“The president was sent a letter on Friday from a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and he had been accused of unauthorized strikes against the Houthis and by bypassing Congress,” Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett began. “They said no president, regardless of political party, has the constitutional authority to bypass Congress on matters of war. Do you think that that would apply here, given this escalation?”

“Not at war with the Houthis. We’re not going to be — we’re not looking for a war with Iran. The president is comfortable that he has the appropriate legal authority to act in self-defense of our ships, our sailors, our troops, and our facilities at sea or ashore,” Kirby replied.

Halkett argued that the American people should have some input, adding, “Isn’t it time to involve the American people? I mean, given the fact that the American people were not happy about [that] I mean.”

“I suspect the American people are not happy about attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea,” Kirby countered. “I also suspect they’re not happy about seeing American troops killed at a base in Jordan. The president has the authority to defend those troops and those facilities, and he’ll do that.”

Halkett then turned to the political side of things, asking whether the fact that it was an election year might have any impact on Biden’s decision-making.

“Is the president looking at his polling when he’s weighing all of these options? Is the president looking at it?”

“Well, I guess that’s a heck of a question. He’s not looking. Ma’am, ma’am, ma’am, let me just stop you right there,” Kirby shot back. The Commander in Chief is not looking at polling or considering the electoral calendar when he’s defending [the American people].”

“He’s not looking at political calculations or the polling or the electoral calendar as he works to protect our troops ashore and our ships at sea. And any suggestion to the contrary is offensive,” he concluded.

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