The White House was once again forced to do damage control after President Joe Biden told “60 Minutes” host Scott Pelley that the United States would send troops to defend Taiwan should China make an “unprecedented” move on the island nation.
During the interview, which aired Sunday on CBS, the Commander In Chief could not have been more clear about his position. Unfortunately, as “60 Minutes” noted in a rather disturbing voice-over following his comments, that is not a position the White House holds, making many wonder who is actually calling the shots for America.
President Biden tells 60 Minutes that U.S. men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. However, after our interview, a White House official told us that U.S. policy on Taiwan has not changed. https://t.co/ANg54LifSH pic.twitter.com/V5qjoqF36T
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 19, 2022
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, eyes have been on China, waiting to see if Chinese President Xi Jinping would use the opportunity to seize control of Taiwan, an island Beijing has insisted is and always has been part of China.
Since 1979, the U.S. has officially maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” when it comes to defending Taiwan, though America is obligated to assist the contested island to defend itself under the Taiwan Relations Act.
Sitting down with Biden, Pelley pressed the president on the issue.
“What should Chinese President Xi know about your commitment to Taiwan?” he asked.
“We agree with what we signed onto a long time ago,” Biden replied. “And that there’s one China policy, and Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence. We are not moving– we’re not encouraging their being independent. We’re not– that– that’s their decision.”
“But would U.S. forces defend the island?” Pelley asked.
Without hesitation, the president responded, “Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.”
And then came the stunning clarification.
“After our interview, a White House official told us U.S. policy has not changed,” Pelley informed the audience. “Officially, the U.S. will not say whether American forces would defend Taiwan, but the Commander In Chief had a view of his own.”
So potentially explosive was his answer that it appeared Pelley wanted to be certain Biden was sure of what he was saying.
“So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir,” he restated, “U.S. forces, U.S. men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?”
“Yes,” Biden confirmed.
Just this month, the State Department sold $1.1 billion worth of military equipment to Taiwan, CBS reports.
“This package was in the works for some time precisely because we expected it would be needed as China increased its pressure on Taiwan,” said State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel at a September 6 press briefing. “We have and we will continue to be responsible, steady, and resolute and keep our lines of communication open with Beijing, but also continue to support Taiwan in consistent– in ways that are consistent with our policy.”
At a time when the nation is desperate for a true leader, the contradictory comments from Biden and the White House did not inspire confidence.
“Who is running this country?” asked one user on Twitter. “I’m not sure what scares me most, that it’s Biden…or, that it’s someone/s unelected.”
Who is running this country? I’m not sure what scares me most, that it’s Biden…or, that it’s someone/s unelected.
— Kristi Lade 🇺🇲 (@LadeKristi) September 19, 2022
It’s especially concerning considering it isn’t the first time the White House and Biden have danced this dance.
Biden declares, against protocol, that U.S. would defend Taiwan if China invades – White House jumps in https://t.co/stZ8W3OIz1
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) October 22, 2021
But it wasn’t only the Taiwan comments that caused Twitter to scratch its collective head. Throughout the interview, Biden revealed he was either completely out of step with the rest of the nation, or he was simply lying — badly.
60 Min: "What can you do better to lower inflation?"
Biden: "inflation rate month to month was just up an inch."
60 Min:"You're not arguing 8.3% is good news?"
Biden: "You're acting like all of a sudden 'my God it went to 8.2%'"
60 Min: "It's the highest rate in 40 years." pic.twitter.com/DEwugGct4d
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 19, 2022
“Even the ‘good’ economic news he tries to put at the end leaves off the fact that the Fed is deliberately trying to crash the economy right now to slow down inflation,” noted John Hawkins. “Inevitably, they will succeed. They have to in order to control inflation and even that may not work.”
Even the “good” economic news he tries to put at the end leaves off the fact that the Fed is deliberately trying to crash the economy right now to slow down inflation. Inevitably, they will succeed. They have to in order to control inflation and even that may not work.
— John Hawkins (@johnhawkinsrwn) September 19, 2022
And then there’s his son, Hunter, whose emails from his forgotten laptop have repeatedly shown “the Big Guy” was absolutely involved with shady deals while he was serving as Vice President.
“There’s not a single thing that I’ve observed at all that would affect me or the United States relative to my son Hunter,” the president insisted.
“There’s not a single thing that I’ve observed at all that would affect me or the United States relative to my son Hunter,” President Biden tells 60 Minutes about his son Hunter Biden. https://t.co/7SixTElqbt pic.twitter.com/6E6FlxhzYp
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 19, 2022
On Twitter, many were upset at Pelley for allowing the answer to stand unchallenged.
“This is embarrassing for both @ScottPelley and @60Minutes,” tweeted Townhall columnist Derek Hunter. “No question about Joe’s numerous meetings with Hunter’s business partners after repeatedly saying he’d never once met them? Nothing? Not one, Scott?”
This is embarrassing for both @ScottPelley and @60Minutes. No question about Joe's numerous meetings with Hunter's business partners after repeatedly saying he'd never once met them? Nothing? Not one, Scott? https://t.co/0cbgzRXFVr
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) September 19, 2022
But just when you thought the president couldn’t appear any less self-aware, he lashed out at former President Donald Trump for making “personal attacks” on his opponents.
As one user on Twitter replied, “I can remember all the way back to these personal attacks, Joe.”
— David Owen (@DavidOw24393761) September 19, 2022
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