Joe Biden Literally Says ‘Knock on Wood’ to Describe Afghanistan Evacuation Strategy

President Joe Biden speaks about the evacuation of American citizens, their families, SIV applicants and vulnerable Afghans in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris listens at left. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

President Joe Biden detailed his strategy to get Americans, Afghan allies, and refugees out of Afghanistan on Friday but caveated with “knock on wood” — a superstitious idiom expressing uncertainty about one’s fortunes.

“What we’ve done so far is been able to get a large number of Americans out, all our personnel at the embassy out, and so on,” Biden said. “And thank God, so far, knock on wood, we’re in a different position.”

The president tried to reassure Americans in Afghanistan that they would get airlifted out of the country, boasting that only the United States could handle the logistics required to do so.

White House

“This is one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history,” Biden said.

Despite reassuring Americans that he would get all of them home, Biden was also hesitant to reassure everyone’s safety.

“I cannot promise what the final outcome will be, or that it will be without risk of loss, but as commander-in-chief, I can assure you that I will use every resource necessary,” he said.

He explained that much of the successful mission depended on his negotiations with the Taliban.

He reassured Americans the United States was in “constant contact” with Taliban leaders to ensure that every American could reach the airport in Kabul, denying the need to send troops out into the country to retrieve and rescue people.

“We’ve been coordinating what we’re doing,” he said. “That’s how we got all of our embassy personnel out, how we got everybody out of the embassy safely.”

Earlier this week, Biden expressed the same “knock on wood” sentiment during an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, though without words, literally knocking on a wooden side table as he falsely claimed “no one’s being killed right now” in Afghanistan.

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