Fiddling as Kabul Burns: White House Browses Twitter Amid Attack

Army Sgt. Major likes tweet mocking troops, veterans

White House chief of staff Ron Klain / Getty Images
August 26, 2021

In the midst of the worst attacks on American service members in a decade, some of the most senior members of the Biden administration browsed Twitter.

Washington Free Beacon review of Andrew Bates's Twitter activity found that the deputy White House press secretary liked six tweets shortly after the first deadly explosion was confirmed in Kabul. Although President Joe Biden has not commented on the death of at least 12 American service members, Bates offered support on Twitter to Sen. Mitt Romney (R., Utah), PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, and CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell. Both Alcindor and O'Donnell regularly offer their support to the Biden administration in their reporting. Romney helped lead the bipartisan infrastructure bill endorsed by the president.

Just after the reports of the explosion in Kabul, Bates attacked conservative pundit Stephen Miller for criticizing the administration's lack of focus on the terror attacks.

While Biden has remained silent on the deadly attacks on evacuation operations, senior White House officials have flocked to Twitter to show support for the administration's Pentagon team. White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre liked a statement by Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs John Kirby released at 1:13 p.m. White House National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne liked the same tweet from Kirby and another by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at 2:55 p.m.

Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston began the day by highlighting the Biden administration's military diversity initiatives. As reports of American deaths and casualties poured in, Grinston—who told followers he was "monitoring this situation"—took the time to like a tweet, sent at 12:46 p.m., that mocked active duty troops and veterans.

"We have nothing for you on this," a spokesman for the Pentagon told the Free Beacon.

Just before the deadly attack, White House chief of staff Ronald Klain, whom some Republicans refer to as the country's "shadow prime minister," liked a tweet by left-wing pundit David Weissman asking CNN and MSNBC to report more favorably on the Biden administration's handling of the Afghan withdrawal.

"We know war is messy," Weissman tweeted.