‘The Rundown’: Stewart says Biden is an ‘apologist for the Taliban’

Your Tuesday morning Utah political cheat sheet

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Stewart: Biden is an ‘apologist for the Taliban’

During a Monday appearance on Fox News, Rep. Chris Stewart said there is no way the Biden administration will be able to get every American and Afghan ally safely out of Afghanistan by the August 31 deadline.

“There’s no way in the world we’re going to get them out by August 31. The Taliban is saying this is a red line for them, and they will not allow us to continue operations on that. What happens if they chose to impose their will on Kabul airport if the operations extend beyond that deadline?” Stewart said.

Stewart joined the program right after a classified briefing on the current situation in Afghanistan. He then made a counterfactual argument, saying former President Donald Trump would have handled the withdrawal much better than the Biden administration.

“President Trump would have withdrawn the military, not had to flood them back into the country like we’re seeing now. Frankly, he would have held them responsible in a way this president is just not willing to do. He (Biden) has become an apologist for the Taliban rather than confronting them. It’s inexcusable to me to watch this,” Stewart said.

Stewart said the Biden administration might have to flood more U.S. troops into Afghanistan to ensure the safe evacuation of all Americans and allies from the region.

Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday morning

🚨 BREAKING OVERNIGHT: CIA Director William Burns held a secret meeting in Kabul with the leader of the Taliban on Monday. [WaPo]

😷 Utah lawmakers say Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s emergency mask order is against the law, but there’s not much they can do to stop it. But, they will likely implement more legal guardrails in the future. [Tribune]

🏛 Salt Lake City Council members say they support Mayor Mendenhall’s move to require masks in schools, but they’re worried about blowback from Republicans in the Utah Legislature. [Tribune]

😷 A group of Utah parents is suing the state for banning school districts from enacting mask mandates. [Tribune]

💉 The FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. [NBC News]

💉 The full approval of the Pfizer vaccine ends Utah’s law banning vaccine mandates for state and local governments. [Tribune]

💉 President Joe Biden is urging employers and schools to require the COVID-19 vaccine for employees. [Politico]

💉 The Pentagon is moving swiftly to require the COVID-19 vaccine for the military. [The Hill]

🗓 President Biden is facing pressure to extend the evacuation mission in Afghanistan, but the Taliban insists the U.S. stick to the August 31 deadline. [NYT]

🪖 The U.S. is reportedly turning some Afghan allies away from the Kabul airport as the massive evacuation effort continues. [NYT]

👀 The investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is targeting phone records from hundreds of individuals, including lawmakers. [Politico]

🚨 A review by the U.S. Capitol Police determined the officer who shot and killed pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt acted lawfully and will not face any disciplinary action. [CNN]

🏛 Kathy Hochul was sworn in as New York’s first female governor following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo. [NYT]

🌾 Extreme heat and drought are baking crops across the U.S., which means lower yields and higher prices. [WSJ]

🤦‍♂️ The report into the sham “audit” of Arizona election results has been delayed after the head of the Cyber Ninjas firm and several of his colleagues tested positive for COVID-19. [WaPo]

Tuesday morning’s Utah news brief


  • Bodies of Paiute children believed to be buried at site of former Utah Indigenous boarding school. [Tribune]

  • Utah ranked worst state for women’s equality — again. [Tribune]

  • Utah politicians eye solutions following U.N.’s dire climate report. [Tribune]

  • Colorado City says police ties to polygamous group are past. [Fox 13]


  • Another 2,731 Utahns contract COVID-19, and nearly 20% of them are school-age kids. [Tribune]

  • ‘Dashed hopes’: Delta variant fueling national economic concerns, but Utah’s engine — so far — still revving. [Deseret News]

  • Weber-Morgan Health Dept. to work with each county to determine school mask policies. [Fox 13]


  • Olympic climber Nathaniel Coleman joins fight against Little Cottonwood gondola, construction. [Tribune]

  • Recent rain boosts Utah’s soil moisture to record levels, giving hope for winter runoff. [2 News]


  • Apostle Jeffrey Holland to BYU: Stop aiming ‘friendly fire’ at LDS teachings. [Tribune]

On the opinion pages

  • Erin Mendenhall: Salt Lake City school mask requirement is legal and necessary. [Tribune]

  • Paul Gibbs: Anti-maskers infringe on the freedom of everyone else. [Tribune]

  • Kathy McKitrick: Utah Supreme Court rules in favor of transparency. [Tribune]

  • Susan Madsen: Elevating women elevates all of us. [Tribune]

  • Erin Young and Elizabeth Vanderwerken: Utah representatives should vote for the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. [Tribune]