Sunday shows preview: Biden defends troop withdrawal in Afghanistan; COVID-19 impacting unvaccinated pockets
President Biden’s defense of U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan and the administration’s push to get more people vaccinated amid spread of coronavirus variants are topics expected to dominate this week’s Sunday talk shows.
Biden, in remarks from the White House this week, confirmed that the administration’s full U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan will be complete by Aug. 31, ahead of his original deadline of Sept. 11 — the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked America’s longest war.
However, recent territorial gains by the Taliban have exacerbated fears that the organization will gain control over the country in the absence of a U.S. military presence.
As of Friday, the Taliban claimed to have control of over 85 percent of Afghanistan.
Biden on Thursday defended the accelerated timeline for a troop withdrawal, explaining, “our military commanders advised me that once I made the decision to end the war, we needed to move swiftly to conduct the main elements of the drawdown. And in this context, speed is safety.”
The president also pushed back on the possibility of a complete Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, saying Thursday, “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
Despite this confidence from the commander in chief, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby acknowledged in a CNN interview Friday that there has been “a deteriorating security situation” in Afghanistan as the Taliban “continues to take district centers.”
Kirby is scheduled to appear on “Fox News Sunday” this week.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan will appear on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
The U.S. has also seen a continued decline of coronavirus vaccination rates and an increase in disease in unvaccinated pockets in the country.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the highly transmissible delta variant first identified in India now accounts for the majority of current COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
States with relatively low vaccination rates, including Missouri and Arkansas, this week reported new highs in part due to the delta variant.
Both Missouri and Arkansas each reported more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases for the third straight day on Friday.
In Missouri, about 46 percent of its population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with about 43 percent in Arkansas at least partially vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and chief White House medical adviser, said last weekend that more than 99 percent of the people who died from COVID-19 in June had not been vaccinated.
Fauci is set to make a round of appearances on this week’s Sunday talk shows, with interviews scheduled on ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’ “Face the Nation and CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Below is the full list of guests scheduled to be on this week’s Sunday talk shows:
ABC’s “This Week” — Fauci; Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.); Eric Adams, Democratic nominee for mayor of New York City.
NBC’s “Meet the Press” — National security adviser Jake Sullivan; Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Fauci; United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby; former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
CNN’s “State of the Union” — Fauci, Adams, Kinzinger; Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.).
“Fox News Sunday” — Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas); Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby.
FOX News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” — Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), House Foreign Affairs Committee; Mike Pompeo, Former Secretary of State, FOX News Contributor; Former President Donald Trump; Charlie Kirk, Founder and President, Turning Point USA; Alan Dershowitz. Author, “Cancel Culture: The Latest Attack on Free Speech and Due Process.”
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