Don Lemon: 'Stop beating up' on Biden admin over Afghanistan, 'We don't know' if we left Americans behind

Media top headlines September 1

In media news today, ABC’s Martha Raddatz pummels Biden’s speech on Afghanistan withdrawal, Meghan McCain rips longtime family friend Biden after withdrawal speech, and the Pentagon acknowledges Americans are ‘stranded’ in Afghanistan despite Psaki claiming term was ‘irresponsible’

CNN anchor Don Lemon offered a full-throated defense for the Biden administration amid the fallout of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

During his nightly handoff with his primetime colleague Chris Cuomo, Lemon conceded that “many people didn’t agree” with “the way” the withdrawal was handled, but quickly suggested such critics should move on, asking “how do we move forward from here?”

“I think that you also have to look at the number, again, the number of people they got out… I think you have to give them some credit for No. 1, getting out and No. 2, getting as many people out as possible,” Lemon told Cuomo. 

The liberal anchor then blamed the stranded Americans for not having left Afghanistan earlier, saying “we do have to remember, there are people who went there and were told they needed to leave and they didn’t leave,” but adding “we should still help them get out.”

“I think people should stop beating up on the administration so much because no matter how it ended, everyone wasn’t going to be happy with the way it ended,” Lemon argued. “So if there’s any silver lining in this, it’s going to be what happens going forward. You can’t change the past, you can’t bring those lives back as awful as that is. And so, you know… I think the administration is getting beaten up on this a little bit too much because there’s a lot of blame to go around from four different presidents and who actually didn’t have the guts to get us out of Afghanistan because they were afraid of this moment and what an exit might look like.”

After debating Cuomo over whether or not the U.S. military needed to be in Afghanistan for 20 years in order to prevent another 9/11, Lemon reiterated that the evacuation effort “was a success.”

“I do believe that there’s going to have to be accountability- we’re going to have to find out exactly what happened and what went wrong… it’s TBD. To be determined,” Lemon said. “We’re still seeing what’s happening. You can’t get them out there- you can’t get them all out in five minutes. You can’t get them all out yesterday. So what happens going forward when we continue with this effort to get them out, and we start getting them out, as many out as possible. Then I think we should stop all, you know, running around like, ‘Oh my gosh! I can’t believe we left so many people behind!'”

“We don’t know if we left them behind yet. We don’t know yet,” Lemon added.

“I hear you, but Don, it’s easy to be level-headed when nobody’s chasing you with a machete,” Cuomo pushed back. “On the ground in Afghanistan, it’s a different reality for these people. They’re going to be hunted… So you don’t have a lot of time and there has to be an urgency commensurate with the need.”

“That is the awful part of war,” Lemon acknowledged. “I think we just can’t look at this in a vacuum. We have to look at the much bigger picture.”

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