Afghanistan war veteran and ex-CIA analyst accuses Biden of ‘gaslighting the country’ over disorderly evacuation effort

Afghanistan war veteran and ex-CIA analyst Matt Zeller speaks on MSNBC
Afghanistan war veteran and ex-CIA analyst Matt Zeller speaks on MSNBC

  • An Afghanistan veteran and ex-CIA analyst on MSNBC accused Biden of “gaslighting the country.”
  • Matt Zeller said he tried in February to present a plan to the White House to help evacuate Afghan SIV applicants.
  • Zeller also blamed Trump for shutting down the SIV program and said there’s “blame to go around.”
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Matt Zeller, a former CIA analyst who fought in Afghanistan and advocates on behalf of Afghan refugees, accused President Joe Biden of “gaslighting the country” over SIV applicant evacuations in a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC.

“Let’s be clear, the president has got to stop gaslighting the country,” Zeller said. “We could have done this in a very orderly fashion. A plan existed all along.”

Zeller’s remarks came as US forces continue to work on evacuating thousands of people from Afghanistan, a process that has been chaotic and even led to some Afghan civilian deaths.

The Afghanistan war veteran told MSNBC that he tried in February to present a plan to the White House that would’ve helped with the evacuation of special immigrant visa applicants – those Afghans who assisted US forces during the nearly 20-year long US mission in Afghanistan.

“Had they listened to us, we wouldn’t have been in this situation,” he said.

The interview took place just after news broke that CIA Director Bill Burns met with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on Monday.

“That’s just how an end of a war that you lose goes I guess,” Zeller said in response. “I’m hoping that they’re making a deal.”

Zeller emphasized that the US would need to stay in Afghanistan beyond the August 31 withdrawal deadline, and said that Biden would be judged not be how many people he evacuated but how many people he left behind.

“There’s a lot of blame to go around on both sides of the aisle” when it comes to the evacuation of refugees, Zeller said, arguing that the Trump administration also contributed to the chaos.

“If the Trump administration hadn’t purposely shut down this program for four years, we wouldn’t have all these people that we needed to take at the last moment,” he added. “If the visa program had actually functioned as designed, many of them would have gotten out years ago.”

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MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid likened the US Christian right to the Taliban

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MSNBC anchor Joy Reid

  • MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid was criticized for comparing the US Christian right to the Taliban.
  • “A true cautionary tale for the US,” tweeted Reid amid reports of the Taliban denying women access to education.
  • Conservative hosts have also made hyperbolic claims about liberals amid deepening partisan divides in the US.
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MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid on Saturday drew criticism after comparing the US religious right to the Islamic militants of the Taliban.

The host of The Reidout was commenting on reports of the Taliban denying women and girls access to universities and schools after seizing control of the Afghan city of Herat.

“This is the real-life Handmaid’s Tale. A true cautionary tale for the US, which has our own far religious right dreaming of a theocracy that would impose a particular brand of Christianity, drive women from the workforce and solely into childbirth, and control all politics,” tweeted Reid.

Conservatives were quick to push back against the comparison as hyperbolic.

“THIS is what Joy Reid thinks of conservatives and Republicans. We are JUST LIKE the Taliban. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t believe the press is the enemy of the people, but the far too many in the press (including Joy) think we’re enemies of the people,”tweeted Curtis Houck, editor of Newsbusters, a site that aims to expose alleged liberal bias in the media.

Republican strategist Matt Whitlock pointed out that Reid had several times in the past compared US conservatives to the repressive religious zealots in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which has been made into an acclaimed drama series.

Conservative hosts have also made claims about liberals widely denounced as misleading, with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson frequently making hyperbolic claims about plots by liberals to erode America from within.

But it’s not just Reid who has argued that there are growing anti-democratic views among sections of the Christian right. Some evangelicals formed part of the core of former President Donald Trump’s support and gave credence to his bogus election fraud claims and the GOP push for voting restrictions.

Multiple polls have shown a widening partisan divide in the US on issues including gun rights, abortion, and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Jimmy Carter shared in a recent interview that he watches PBS, CNN, and MSNBC, but steers clear of Fox and social media

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter are seen ahead of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Cincinnati Bengals, in Atlanta. Former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter will not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. It marks the first time the couple, 96 and 93, will have missed the ceremonies since Carter was sworn-in as the 39th president in 1977.
Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter don’t watch much Fox News.

  • Former President Jimmy Carter watches PBS “NewsHour” nightly and regularly catches up on CNN and MSNBC.
  • He and his wife, Rosalynn, largely steer clear of Fox News and social media.
  • “We have a very good balance of news coverage,” Carter said in an interview that aired Monday.
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Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter are devoted fans of the PBS “NewsHour,” the former president said in an interview that aired Monday evening.

They watch the show every night, Carter told “NewsHour” host Judy Woodruff as he described the couple’s news consumption. “We watch MSNBC and CNN pretty regularly,” he added.

They “don’t watch Fox presentations very much,” Carter said, nor do they “really become involved” in social media. “So we have a fairly good balance of the news coverage.”

Carter, 96, and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, 93, spoke to Woodruff from their home in Plains, Georgia, for a wide-ranging interview as they prepare to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary on July 7. Carter is now the longest-living president in US history.

In addition to their news habits, the couple discussed unfounded claims made by President Donald Trump and his supporters that he won the 2020 presidential election.

“It’s known, quite accurately, as the big lie,” Carter said. “And how he – how Trump – gets away with it is hard to comprehend.”

It’s “hard for me to know what was happening and then to hear what was being said about it,” Rosalynn Carter said.

Asked whether she ever thought that the Carter Center would be involved in monitoring elections in her home state, she said, “No, I never thought we’d have to monitor elections in Georgia. I just assumed elections were accurate. I trusted our officials.”

Read more: Jimmy, Rosalynn Carter look back at 75 years of marriage: ‘It’s a full partnership’

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Fox News and CNN choose not to air Trump’s first official speech in 3 months

Trump speech, North Carolina
Former President Donald Trump addresses the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021 in Greenville, North Carolina. The event is one of former U.S. President Donald Trumps first high-profile public appearances since leaving the White House in January.

  • Trump’s speech at the North Carolina GOP Convention on Saturday night was the first pubic address in months.
  • Both Fox News and CNN chose not to broadcast the address, Newsweek reported.
  • One America News and Newsmax both aired the speech live and in full.
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Fox News and CNN did not broadcast former President Donald Trump’s first public speech in three months, Newsweek reported.

Trump’s address at the North Carolina GOP State Convention on Saturday night was the first time the former president had made a public address since his Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) speech in February.

Fox News, a station once loved but now much-maligned by the former president, broadcast a pre-taped episode of “Watters’ World” instead of Trump’s address.

CNN dedicated a segment to analyzing the importance of the address instead of actually airing Trump’s speech, Newsweek said.

Read more: Fox News isn’t even pretending to be a news network anymore. It’s time for consumers to force cable providers and advertisers to drop the network.

Fox News was once Trump’s favorite news channel, but he has repeatedly trashed it in recent years. He has called it “unwatchable” and has urged his followers to watch “anything else,” Insider’s Yelena Dzhanova reported.

One America News (OAN) and Newsmax are now battling it out for pro-Trump viewers, Insider reported. Both of the conservative networks decided to air the former president’s speech live, Newsweek said.

MSNBC showed some of the address, with a correspondent speaking over the remarks, Newsweek added.

Insider reached out to Fox News and CNN for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

During the address, Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd for the Senate seat being vacated by three-term Sen. Richard Burr in 2022.

The endorsement came after Tar Heel native Lara Trump, the wife of presidential son Eric Trump, declined to run for the seat, Insider’s John L. Dorman reported.

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Members are quitting Mar-a-Lago because it has become a ‘sad’ and ‘dispirited’ place since Trump moved in, author says

trump mar a lago
Mar-a-Lago has become a ‘sad place’ since Trump moved in, author Laurence Leamer claims

  • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf resort has become a ‘sad place’ since he moved in, an expert on the resort told MSNBC.
  • Members are quitting and want nothing to do with Trump, Laurence Leamer told the cable channel.
  • Previous reports said that Trump’s Florida neighbors have taken legal action to stop him from taking up residence.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Former President Donald Trump’s return to his glitzy Florida golf resort – Mar-a-Lago – has reportedly not been met with fanfare by the club’s wealthy members.

Mar-a-Lago’s mood is “dispirited,” and people are canceling their memberships, the author of a book on the resort told MSNBC.

“I’ve talked to a bunch of people the last couple of days,” Laurence Leamer told the cable channel. “A lot of people have quit Mar-a-Lago.”

The author of “Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace” then remarked that members are leaving due to concerns that they might be featured in newspaper articles.

Read more: 10 huge hits to Trump’s business from the pandemic that may be permanent.

Leamer says Trump’s declining popularity has also turned off members.

He told MSNBC: “They don’t want anything to do with Donald Trump. Many of the members, they’re not going there very often because it’s a very dispirited place.”

He continued: “It’s a sad place for Trump to be hanging out. It’s not what it was.”

Leamer later added: “They’re walking away from him. Even here, people don’t like him.”

Members, who pay $200,000 to join the club, have voiced their concern about Trump’s return to Mar-a-Lago.

It has been reported that his neighbors have been taking legal to prevent the former president from permanently residing there. They are reportedly taking legal action to try and prevent the move from becoming permanent, according to The Washington Post.

The neighbors wrote a secret letter to Palm Beach authorities and the US Secret Service arguing that Trump has no legal right to live at Mar-a-Lago full-time, The Post reported.

It said that authorities should notify Trump that he is not allowed to become a permanent resident to avoid an “embarrassing situation” whereby he would be evicted, the paper said.

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