Biden jokes he’ll soon be out of a job as he hosts WNBA champions Seattle Storm despite Afghanistan chaos

White House has come under fire for ugly scenes in Kabul during US withdrawal

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 24 August 2021 00:53

Biden jokes he’ll soon be out of a job as he hosts WNBA champions despite Afghanistan chaos

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Joe Biden joked that he will soon be out of a job as he hosted the WNBA champions Seattle Storm despite the Afghanistan chaos.

The president met with the team as the White House announced that the military had evacuated more than 28,000 people from the Afghan capital since 14 August.

“I may need work after this. I’d be a good ball boy,” said Mr Biden, whose administration has come under fire for the disturbing scenes at Kabul’s international airport.

The president also gave a shout out to the team’s star player, Sue Bird, and her fiancee, US Women’s National Team soccer player Megan Rapinoe.

“They represent the best of what America stands for,” said Mr Biden.

He also urged the country to support women’s sports, not just every four years during the Olympics.

“As a nation we need to support women’s sports not just during the Olympics, but during the year, during every season by showing up in person and watching on TV,” he said.

“These women are amazing athletes...we honor them by showing up for them.”

It was star player Sue Bird’s third official trip to the White House to meet with a US president.

The Storm, who have won four titles, last visited the executive mansion in 2011.

Bird said that her team visiting the White House was not controversial now that Donald Trump no longer occupied it.

“I think for a very long time, up until 2016, going to the White House was an honour. It wasn’t necessarily political. It was to meet the president of the United States. The person who holds that office acknowledging your team’s success,” Bird told the Associated Press ahead of the visit.

“It wasn’t political. I think that all shifted in 2016.”

Bird, along with numerous other WNBA athletes, has been an outspoken backer of Black Lives Matter and other social justice causes.

“Now that it’s back in a place where it’s considered an honour and you’re recognised by the highest office in the country is exciting, it’s fun,” she added.

“It’s not just about meeting the president or hopefully the vice president is there. It’s about the whole experience of being in the White House. Having a day that’s about your team and celebrating what you’ve accomplished.”

Mr Biden’s meeting with the WNBA team came after he canceled a trip to Delaware and remained at the White House all weekend to monitor the US withdrawal from Kabul.

At least 20 people have died in the last week in and around the international airport as Americans and Afghans try to leave the country after the Taliban swept back into power after 20-years.

The figure was given to Reuters by a NATO officials who asked to remain anonymous.

Mr Biden claimed on Sunday that he had not seen a poll about his falling popularity and public disapproval over the handling of the Afghanistan crisis.

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