Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has made his foreign policy prowess and experience a centerpiece of his 2020 White House bid, appeared to mix up Iraq and Afghanistan in a debate answer on Thursday.
ABC News debate moderator David Muir said, “I want to turn to Vice President Biden, because the concerns about any possible vacuum being created in Afghanistan, if you pulled the U.S. troops out, has been heightened by what we’ve seen in recent days on the ground in Iraq.”
“When you were vice president, President Obama turned to you to bring the troops home from Iraq,” Muir continued. “You have said on the campaign trail, quote, ‘I made sure the president turned to me and said, Joe, get our combat troops out of Iraq.’ There was a major drawdown of U.S. troops, and then ISIS seized by some estimates 40% of the territory in Iraq. You then had to send thousands of troops back in. Was it wrong to pull out of Iraq that quickly? And did the move actually help ISIS take hold?”
Biden responded, “No, it wasn’t wrong to pull out. But I want to answer your Afghanistan question. I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan, not with a gun, and I admire my friend [Pete Buttigieg] for his service. But I’ve been out of Afghanistan I think more than anybody on this — and it’s an open secret, you reported a long time ago, George [Stephanopoulos], that I was opposed to the surge in Afghanistan.”