U.S. official: “I am absolutely appalled and literally horrified we left Americans there"

Not everyone in the administration shared the commander in chief’s confidence. “I am absolutely appalled and literally horrified we left Americans there,” one administration official told POLITICO. “It was a hostage rescue of thousands of Americans in the guise of a NEO [noncombatant evacuation operations], and we have failed that no-fail mission.” Another White House official said that the mission isn’t accomplished if they left Americans behind.

The drawdown of the war in Afghanistan represents the most significant failure Biden has confronted in his presidency — one where he repeatedly failed to meet his lofty promises and flawed predictions. Biden has long relished proving his doubters wrong and wrapping his pursuits in a sense of optimism. It has worked for him before, most recently with his zealous quest to win Republican support for a bipartisan infrastructure deal.