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“The way forward for them in the fall remains Covid and infrastructure,” said Jennifer Palmieri, former Obama White House communications director and close to the Biden administration. “The most important facts about Afghanistan are still that he brought the United States out, in terms of what interests the public.”

Biden withdrew U.S. troops from Afghanistan within his self-imposed deadline, ensuring that a fifth president would not inherit what has been a painful two-decade chapter in our history. country. But the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemen in a terror attack last week, as part of a chaotic pullout that left between 100 and 200 Americans, was a black mark for Biden and a punch for a White House. which prides itself on its competence and expertise in foreign policy.

Biden said in a statement Monday night that “it was the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and all of our ground commanders to end our airlift mission as scheduled,” but plans to discuss the decision in more detail in a speech Tuesday afternoon. .

Democrats have expressed their frustrations with the administration by increasingly coarse terms and worried about the political repercussions of the end of the war. For the first time in the Biden administration, they are putting a distance between themselves and the president.

Biden’s favor has plummeted in recent polls, a trend that began just before the Taliban took control of Kabul. But sources in the administration, outside allies and some Capitol Hill Democrats have described the drop as temporary and argue that the president’s ability to quickly direct his infrastructure and social spending plans through Congress will determine. ultimately the political viability of Democrats.

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) Said some of his fellow Democrats’ anger against the president “may be overstated”. The grassroots Democratic voters he spoke to aren’t upset, the congressman said. Instead, the question “grabbing the attention of mothers and fathers right now,” he said, is whether their children will be safe in school as cases of Covid- 19 will increase.

Voters he spoke with at home, including steel workers, are calling for infrastructure funding and child care assistance, Cleaver said. After seeing some of the headlines about the recent revolt by moderate House Democrats over the sequencing of Biden’s agenda, Cleaver said some asked why Democratic lawmakers “won’t step back if you can’t help the President.” “.

In the short term, Biden’s aides and allies have rallied around a new message that encompasses the many quagmires the president finds himself in: No easy problems arise over the president’s desk, they say, and navigating through current crises was something that Biden has raced and been doing since his first day in office. They see change not as a strategic hub but as a natural offshoot of the current news cycle.

With US forces now out of Afghanistan, much of the weekend’s media coverage focused on the hurricane that hit Louisiana and Mississippi. Millions of children are starting or returning to school soon, amid new controversy over mask mandates. The upcoming holiday weekend, meanwhile, will be followed by the return of Congress and renewed attention to Biden’s national agenda, where his staff hope to see further successes.

But passing Biden’s infrastructure and $ 3.5 trillion in social spending over the next month will be far from fun. A senior Democratic source said some lawmakers feared “bad news on multiple fronts” for the White House “would complicate legislative strategy.”

And moderate Democrats have made it clear they want to see the size of Biden’s second economic package – which includes reforming prescription drug prices and funding for child and elderly care, among other top priorities – down.

“It’s a very delicate moment,” Cleaver said. “People are wondering how the Democrats are going to handle this authority that we have given them?

In addition to the exit from Afghanistan and the legislative battles ahead, the administration still faces a deadly resurgence of Covid that has skyrocketed hospitalizations and deaths across the country.

Despite the growing challenges, Bidenworld believes the time is on their side. The mid-term campaigns are still a year away from warming up, giving the president an opportunity to speed up a vaccination campaign, allay inflation concerns and get the word out of legislative victories – so they materialize.

Some collaborators and allies have gone further, bristling with attempts by the media and experts to guess the political calculation of the White House seemingly at every moment.

“I wouldn’t be worried about the numbers from the polls week to week,” Palmieri said. “You want to be on a trajectory where you know at the end of the year that you’re making progress and how Americans view the work you’re doing,” Palmieri said. “They know these remain the two most important measures.”

Ultimately, voters will judge the administration on economic recovery, job creation and helping working families – as well as the president’s ability to bring Covid under control – said Biden chief pollster John Anzalone.

“I think if everyone would take a step back and say, ‘Okay, let’s have this conversation. What is the conversation going to look like in a year? ‘ ”Said Anzalone. “The ‘Biden Democrats’ are going to have this incredible story for the American people. I think it’s always hard to see when you have the fog of a crisis, I understand. But now we are a party and a Presidency that have something to work on – it’s doing things proactively. “

There is undoubtedly a risk to this strategy if the bloody and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan does not disappear from the headlines. Republicans have covered social media questioning Biden’s competence. And Democratic-led congressional committees have pledged to investigate the “failures” that led to a deadly exit. In addition, Biden still faces the resettlement of thousands of Afghan refugees, an issue that is already causing Republican recoil at home.

“I’ve been around my district and spent time with veterans and there are a lot of raw emotions there,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who represents Laredo, home of one of 13 Marines killed in the Kabul Attack. As Cuellar speaks with his constituents, he said he tries to present the full history of the war and the involvement of other presidents, including former President Donald Trump’s negotiations with the Taliban that triggered the exit. Still, Cuellar fears Biden “will lose independents, and it’s the independents who help us win races.”

“Sometimes I wonder who is advising the president,” Cuellar said. “Am I happy with the end?” Absolutely not. Do we have a lot of questions? Absolutely yes. Does anyone have to resign? I don’t know, let’s see what happened.

To the extent that Biden is currently viewed as damaged goods, it hasn’t changed the White House’s political strategy: even their ambitious August plans to bolster support for his economic agenda didn’t involve sending Biden on the road.

For now, the White House is counting on the public finally coming to the conclusion that the president made: that the need to focus on the issues at home was worth ending a war that seemed, sometimes impossible to finish.

“The American people understand that there comes a time when enough is enough. Biden is the first president to finally do it, ”Senator Bernie Sanders told POLITICO shortly before the suicide bombing that killed 13 military personnel. “And so I appreciate what he did – what he did after 20 years of war.”

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

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