As Biden administration officials met to hammer out plans for withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan, members of their communications and political teams worked to keep the American public on board with the drawdown—even if conditions got much, much worse.
As part of those deliberations, White House and other Biden administration communications officials quietly circulated polling data, including some from a once Trump-allied group, that reassured themselves that—even if the pullout is quickly followed by horrifying developments in Afghanistan—they would have the political cover to decisively weather that fallout, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
The White House did not provide comment for this story by press time. But one person familiar with the matter bluntly assessed, “Probably, this is all going to shit. But we also have confidence that we’ll have political cover, that no one’s going to give a shit.”