The Corner

MSNBC Grills WH’s Josh Earnest: ‘Is Yemen Still a Success Story? Can You Say That?’

MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinski and Chris Jansing lit into White House press secretary Josh Earnest over his administration’s continued insistence that Yemen is a counter-terror success story, even as the U.S.-backed president flees the country and Saudi Arabia begins an aerial campaign against anti-American Houthi rebels. 

“Josh, I’ll put you on the spot here,” Brzezinski asked Thursday on Morning Joe. “Is Yemen still a success story? Can you say that?”

“Yemen has, for years, been a chaotic situtation —” Earnest began.

“But is it a success story?” Brzezinski pressed.

Earnest admitted that groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State were likely seeking “to take advantage of this, to try to insert themselves into the chaos.”

“Well clearly that’s what happened!” Brzezinski said. “So should we dial back on the words that it is a ’success story,’ when you have the president fleeing on a boat?”

The White House spokesman noted that the goal of U.S. policy is not “to build a Jeffersonian democracy there,” but to “make sure Yemen is not a safe haven” for Islamic terrorists with designs on striking the West.

Jansing didn’t buy it. “How, Josh,” she asked. “How, when you have the embassy closed, the Americans have left, you have the parliament that has been dissolved, you have the president fleeing on a boat, you have so many less possibilities for intelligence on the ground — how can you say that we’re still in a counter-terror situation there?”

Earnest admitted that “we would much rather be in a situation where there is a stable central government that can actively support our ongoing efforts,” but said the U.S. continues to be in touch with the remaining portions of the Yemeni government.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

Democratic infighting reached a fever pitch last week with bickering and personal attacks between members of the “Squad” and other House Democrats. During that period, Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley mostly avoided doing interviews. However, that all ... Read More

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More
Health Care

For Planned Parenthood, No Doctors Need Apply

Poor Leana Wen. She took Planned Parenthood’s propaganda a little too seriously. And now she’s out of a job. For the longest time, Planned Parenthood has insisted that it’s a health-care organization, and it only cares about abortion — supposedly a tiny share of its business — insofar as it’s a ... Read More