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While some may dismiss President Biden's gaffes at the podium, one former Obama administration official warns that they are harming the US's 'standing' on the global stage.
In a Tuesday op-ed for USA Today, Brett Bruen, a former foreign service officer who worked as former President Barack Obama's director of global engagement from 2013 to 2015, said he used to "cringe" everytime Biden walked the stage as vice president.
“Despite all the preparation that went into an event and his remarks, as a staffer on the National Security Council, you never quite knew what he might say,” Bruen wrote.
“At times, his offhanded comments could spice up what otherwise would be a pretty boring policy address. Yet, there were other times, too many times, when it could veer into dangerous terrain.”
These "reckless riffs have continued during his presidency," the ex-Obama official wrote, citing several remarks made about diplomacy, including Biden's comment on the "inevitability" that Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, would fall to the Taliban, and his assertion earlier this year that Russian President Vladimir Putin "should be removed from power."
While Bruen claimed the president "bears the lion's share of culpability for his ill-considered improvisation," he also chastised Biden's national security team for not "adequately preparing him for what ought to be apparent questions," according to Bruen.
Bruen also chastised the government for repeatedly clarifying the president's remark, claiming that it results in "hours and even days of uncomfortable quiet of inadequate clarifications."
He cited one of the most recent clarifications, in which the White House took back Biden's remarks that the US would aid Taiwan if the island nation was attacked by China.
It was the third time in nine months that the White House clarified or minimized Biden's solid support for Taiwan.
"Could the president say that we are prepared to fight for Taiwan, here is how we should define that plan, taking into account both the reality of his statements and our actual policy posture," Bruen said. "However, we should not act as if they don't exist."
Biden has reportedly grown angry with his team for making claims that have been perceived as unreliable, as the White House has proceeded to backtrack on several of the president's pronouncements.
“The president rightfully worries that they are undermining the power of his words,” Bruen wrote Tuesday, but still suggested Biden’s beliefs are “outdated.”
“This is an extraordinarily dangerous time for the United States and our allies. It requires a strong and consistent level of diplomatic discipline. I fear that anything less could lead us unnecessarily into a conflict, whether with China, Iran, Russia or North Korea,” the former foreign service officer later added.
“At the very least, from our own hemisphere to the Asia Pacific region, we have unnecessarily undermined our standing and irresponsibly handed propaganda points to our adversaries. Something needs to fundamentally change in how this White House deals with diplomacy.”
Bruen urged that Biden "reset" his entire national security team, advocating for the replacement of national security advisor Jake Sullivan, claiming that the president's team had "repeatedly demonstrated an incapacity to execute and staff him effectively."
“We need more experienced leaders who can speak truth to power and implement our foreign policy without so many fumbles.”
The White House did not immediately respond to The GAG’s request for comment.