White House Must Again Backtrack After Biden Gaffe On Taiwan

The White House yet again went into damage control mode after President Joe Biden for the second time pledged to deploy the U.S. military to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.

Appearing on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” for the second time in four months, Biden declared that American forces would defend the island nation if China attempted to seize it by force. Host Scott Pelley asked the president if the U.S. will “defend the island.”

Biden responded, “Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.” Pelley immediately gave Biden a chance to clarify his misstatement, but there was no clarification coming.

The president was asked that, unlike Ukraine, U.S. men and women “would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?” Biden responded, “Yes.”

In a voiceover later in the interview, Pelley confirmed that the White House told CBS that the official U.S. policy on defending Taiwan had not changed. The host then noted that “the commander in chief had a view of his own.”

This marks the second time when President Biden publicly responded to a very similar question with the same answer. At a May news conference, he was asked if he’s “willing to get involved militarily” if China were to launch an invasion of Taiwan. Then also, he responded with “Yes.”

The reporter asked a follow-up question to confirm the president’s position, and Biden added, “That’s the commitment we made.”

In that instance as well, the surprised White House was sent scrambling to clarify the message and declare that U.S. policy on Taiwan has not changed. The U.S. supplies aid but does not commit to militarily defending the island.

As for China, the communist government quickly lodged a complaint saying that it “deplores and firmly opposes” the president’s statement. The foreign ministry reported it sent “stern representation” to Washington over Biden’s statements that the U.S. would militarily intervene.

Biden has a long and storied history of gaffes and outright misstatements, and they generally occur when he wanders off script and are quickly corrected. Repeated declarations such as these in committing the U.S. to war with a nuclear power, however, are reckless and indefensible.