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Biden beset by leadership woes at home, abroad after eight months in office

Self-inflicted crises are piling up for President Biden.

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His leadership suffered serious blows on multiple fronts in rapid succession Friday. From the acknowledgment of a misguided and deadly U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan to mounting chaos on America’s southern border, Mr. Biden tangled with emergencies foreign and domestic as he heads into his ninth month as commander in chief.

“Joe Biden has completely lost control only 8 months in,” tweeted Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican.

The Pentagon admitted that a drone strike in Afghanistan accidentally killed 10 civilians instead of terrorist militants, as originally claimed by the administration.

The FDA rejected plans for widespread COVID-19 booster shots, though days early Mr. Biden announced plans for “every adult to get a booster shot” starting Monday.

The FDA said it needs more data before approving a third shot. The vote against the plan was 16-2.

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France announced an unprecedented withdrawal of its ambassador to the U.S., deepening an embarrassing feud with America’s oldest ally over Mr. Biden’s foreign policy dealmaking.

The row erupted over Mr. Biden inking a deal to build nuclear-powered submarines for Australia as part of an effort to counter China in the Indo-Pacific. It also undercut France’s $100 billion submarine deal with Australia.

“We understand their position and will continue to be engaged in the coming days to resolve our differences, as we have done at other points over the course of our long alliance,” said Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the president’s National Security Council. “France is our oldest ally and one of our strongest partners, and we share a long history of shared democratic values and a commitment to working together to address global challenges.”

At the southern border, an out-of-control migrant crisis grew exponentially with a massive migrant camp — about 10,000 mostly Haitian migrants — established underneath the international bridge in Del Rio, Texas.

Homeland Security announced late Friday that it was shutting down the border crossing in Del Rio, which was another black eye for the Biden administration that just a day earlier disputed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s claim that Customs and Border Protection was considering closing the entry point.

The administration on Saturday was working on plans to start flying the migrants back to Haiti, possibly with eight flights per day that would begin Sunday, an official with knowledge of the plan told The Associated Press.

Most of the alarming developments came on Friday afternoon after Mr. Biden had left the White House for a weekend at his home in Delaware.

Mr. Biden had no public events scheduled for Saturday or Sunday.

As the emergencies piled up at Mr. Biden’s feet, his job-approval rating continued to slide. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday showed Mr. Biden with the lowest numbers of his presidency amid growing criticism of his handling of the pandemic and the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.

The poll showed that 44% of adults approve of Mr. Biden’s performance in office. That reflected a nine-point drop in just a few weeks.

The Pentagon’s admitted that the U.S. drone strike on Aug. 29, which Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley originally called a “righteous” attack, instead had killed seven innocent children among its victims.

“The Biden Afghanistan catastrophe keeps getting worse,” Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, tweeted.

“Did the Taliban provide the faulty ‘intel’ that led to the Biden admin killing 10 innocent civilians, including 7 children? If so, why did Biden trust the Taliban?”

Tensions also mounted over the migrants congregating in Del Rio, Texas. Critics charge the administration was either unable or unwilling to handle the surge of illegal immigration.

Del Rio’s Democratic mayor warned the president that the number of illegal migrants in the crowd was nearing one-third of Del Rio’s population.

Republican lawmakers called the steady flow of migrants across the Rio Grande an “invasion.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, tweeted: “The Biden Administration .. Won’t let reporters in border facilities. Won’t answer questions about the crisis. And now, won’t let news drones fly over the border. What are they hiding?”

What’s more, the escalating crises came as Mr. Biden’s centerpiece $3.5 trillion safety-net spending plan appeared to be on the ropes. Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a key Democratic vote needed for the plan, reportedly told the president to his face in a private meeting Thursday that he won’t support the huge price tag.

• Stephen Dinan and Jeff Mordock contributed to this report.

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