Biden called George W. Bush before he announced his Afghanistan troop withdrawal plan - but neither said whether Bush supported it

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Thomas Colson
·3 min read
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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. Andrew Harnik-Pool / Getty Images
  • President Joe Biden called George W. Bush to discuss his plan to pull US troops out of Afghanistan.

  • Biden didn't say if Bush supported the decision to end the war that started during his presidency.

  • Biden also spoke with former President Barack Obama by phone before announcing the decision.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

President Joe Biden called former President George W. Bush to discuss his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, but neither man said whether Bush supported the decision to end the war that started during his presidency.

President Biden said at a press conference on Wednesday that he called President Bush the previous day to inform him of the decision.

"I spoke yesterday with President Bush and informed him of my decision," Biden said in a speech at the White House.

"While he and I have had many disagreements over policy throughout the years, we are absolutely united in our respect and support for the valor, courage, and integrity of the women and men in the United States armed forces who served," Biden said.

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Biden on Wednesday detailed his plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, noting that he was in the same room where President George W. Bush announced the first airstrikes on Afghanistan in October 2001, less than a month after 9/11.

"It is time to end America's longest war," Biden said. "It is time for American troops to come home."

He said that he was the fourth president to preside over the war with Afghanistan, and said he "will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth."

Biden also spoke with former President Barack Obama by phone, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

"POTUS spoke with both President Bush and [Barack Obama] during separate calls yesterday," Psaki said on Twitter Wednesday.

"While we are not going to read out private conversations, he values their opinions and wanted them both to hear directly from him about his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

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Bush's spokesman declined to say whether Bush had supported Biden's decision.

"As he has maintained since leaving office, President Bush will decline to comment on private phone calls or his successors," he said, per the New York Times.

"He and Mrs. Bush remain committed to honoring and supporting our post-9/11 veterans and empowering women in Afghanistan through their work at the Bush Institute."

President Obama said in a statement: "I support President Biden's bold leadership in building our nation at home and restoring our standing around the world.".

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