White House press secretary Josh Earnest faced some pushback on Wednesday after he claimed that the Obama administration still believes Yemen can serve as a successful model for “counterterrorism.”
ABC reporter Jonathan Karl noted that “complete chaos” has gripped Yemen as the country faces a bloody struggle against radical rebel forces and asked if the White House still views Yemen as a counterterrorism “model.”
The reporter seemed surprised when Earnest said the White House is maintaining its position.
Earnest told reporters on Wednesday that a “successful counterterrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government to have local fighters on the ground to have local fighters take the fight to extremists in their own country.” He added that the counterterrorism strategy is a “template that has succeeded in mitigating the threat in Yemen and Somalia.”
“That’s astounding,” Karl responded. “You're saying you still see Yemen as a model? Building up a central government, which has now collapsed? A president who has apparently fled the country? You know, Saudi troops massing on one border, the Iranians supporting the rebels? You consider this a model for counterterrorism?”
Watch Earnest's response and the rest of the exchange below: