Biden is going through the roughest patch of his presidency so far, with multiple crises converging on the White House

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Biden
President Joe Biden waves as he walks on the Ellipse after stepping off Marine One on May 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • Biden is having a rough couple of weeks.

  • He's facing multiple domestic crises, criticism over Afghanistan, an economic slowdown, and declining approval.

  • The president continues to paint a rosy picture of the state of the country during this rough patch.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

President Joe Biden entered the White House with a slew of challenges on his plate. His inauguration occurred amid a devastating pandemic and less than a month after a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol.

But he got off to a fairly strong start. Back in March, Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package - one of the largest economic relief measures in US history - after successfully pushing it through Congress. By late spring, COVID-19 vaccines were widely available to Americans and there was hope that the US was on its way to wrangling control of the virus.

Meanwhile, there were signs that the US economy was recovering from the pandemic recession. And Biden enjoyed a relatively strong approval rating in those early months - it stood at about 54% by his 100th day in office, per FiveThirtyEight.

Fast-forward to September, however, and Biden is going through his roughest phase yet as commander-in-chief amid spiking COVID-19 cases, dwindling job numbers, and a declining approval rating.

The pace of vaccination in the US has not been able to outrun the spread of the virus, and the highly contagious Delta variant has seen cases, deaths, and hospitalizations rise to the highest levels since winter, per data from The New York Times. The US is currently averaging over 164,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day, and more than 1,500 recorded deaths per day from the virus.

On top of this - it's hurricane season. After leaving thousands without power and running water along the Gulf Coast, the remnants of Hurricane Ida slammed into the Northeast this week and dozens were killed. The president visited New Orleans on Friday to survey the damage.

And the Department of Labor on Friday reported that the US added 235,000 jobs in August, a major decline compared to June and July and well below expectations.

Biden blamed the slowdown on the Delta variant, but also tried to take a positive tone.

"There's no question that the Delta variant is why today's job report isn't stronger," Biden said on Friday. "I know people were looking, and I was hoping, for a higher number."

Attempting to paint a rosy picture of the state of the country, Biden added that the US has seen "continued growth month after month in job creation."

But the Biden administration is also facing another domestic crisis in the form of a law in Texas that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court's conservative justices refused to block the law. There are serious concerns among Democrats and advocacy groups about the implications of this ruling on reproductive rights across the country and the future of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the US.

Beyond this array of domestic crises converging upon the White House, Biden continues to face criticism over his handling of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

The US completed the pullout on Monday, which came less than a month after the Taliban regained control of the country. After the Taliban marched into Kabul, its Hamid Karzai International Airport became a constant scene of chaos - with thousands desperate to flee the country.

The US carried out evacuations, but many weren't able to get out. Though a few hundred Americans and thousands of Afghan allies were left behind, Biden praised the operation as an "extraordinary success." Polling shows most Americans supported the withdrawal, but disapprove of how it was handled.

It was a disastrous situation for the US and Biden faced bipartisan backlash over his approach to the pullout. His administration was forced to admit that, despite prior warnings from the intelligence community and others, it failed to anticipate the blistering pace at which the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan.

The withdrawal also coincided with the deadliest day for the US military in over a decade. On August 26, an ISIS-K attack killed 13 US service members and 169 Afghans in Kabul. The US responded with drone strikes, including one that killed 10 Afghan civilians.

Biden's approval rating dropped below 50% for the first time since he took office amid all of this. It now stands at roughly 46%, per FiveThirtyEight's average.

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