From a botched drone strike in Afghanistan to an unprecedented break in relations with France, the final hours of President Joe Biden’s Friday were a deluge of bad news for the president.
A Tragic Failure In Kabul:
The floodgates opened just before 3 p.m. when Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, announced the end of a Pentagon investigation that found a retaliatory U.S. drone strike in Kabul killed 10 innocents, including seven children — but zero terrorists. The U.S. carried out the strike on August 29 in reaction to the bombing of U.S. service members at the Kabul airport.
At the time, the administration claimed it had destroyed a vehicle with ISIS-K terrorists inside, while Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley called the move “righteous.”
“I offer my condolences to the family and friends of those killed. This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to forces at the airport. It was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology. As a commander, I’m fully responsible for this strike and its tragic outcome,” McKenzie told reporters in a Friday press conference. (RELATED: CENTCOM Says It’s ‘Unclear What May Have Happened’ In Kabul Drone Strike That Reportedly Killed Civilians)
McKenzie said he doesn’t anticipate any disciplinary action as a result of the botched strike.
Biden’s Boosters Get Shut Down:
The next piece of bad news for Biden came from within his own administration, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected Pfizer’s vaccine booster for Americans 16 and older.
WASHINGTON (AP) — FDA advisory panel soundly rejects a plan to offer Pfizer booster shots against COVID-19 to most Americans.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) September 17, 2021
Biden and other White House officials had already expressed their support for getting booster shots in August. But the FDA rebuked those recommendations in an overwhelming 16-2 vote Friday, saying instead that booster shots were only necessary for the elderly and others who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
The White House has yet to clarify whether it will move forward with its plan to offer booster shots to all vaccinated Americans by Sept. 20.
Trouble In France:
The third blow for Biden came from one of America’s closest allies, as France took the unprecedented step of recalling its ambassador from Washington, D.C. French President Emanuel Macron intended the move as a rebuke of the U.S., Australia and the U.K. leaving France in the dark about a sale of nuclear submarines to Australia. France had already negotiated a $65 billion deal to sell diesel submarines to Australia, a plan Australia has now dropped in favor of the U.S.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the move “unacceptable behavior” and recalled the nation’s ambassadors from both the U.S. and Australia. France has never withdrawn its ambassador from the U.S., and the incident further cuts at Biden’s intended foreign policy message that “America is back.”