Tuesday, August 17, 2021

GOP: Forget What We Said

Via TPM:

The Republican Party wants you to forget that just a few months ago the GOP agreed that the move to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which Biden is now being criticized for, was sound foreign policy.

Former President Trump put out a statement yesterday, calling on Biden to “resign in disgrace” over the “tragic mess” in Afghanistan and criticizing the President for the manner in which he removed U.S. forces from the Middle East. Confusing, because at one point this spring he posted a statement calling out the Biden administration for not getting U.S. troops out of the region faster than it did, and calling Biden’s intention to withdraw a “wonderful and positive thing to do.” Part of the Biden administration’s thinking on pull-out was centered on concerns about the Taliban retaliating against American forces if the U.S. didn’t withdraw by the deadline that Trump scheduled.

Then, the Republican National Committee scrubbed references on its website to Trump’s efforts to negotiate with the Taliban during his presidency. We reported on this earlier this afternoon, but, if you recall, Trump touted a “peace deal” with the Taliban back in February of 2020, an effort to move the U.S. out of the region. At one point, there were talks of Trump wanting to bring Taliban leaders to Camp David to finalize negotiations. That didn’t end up happening.

Others like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have made similar statements about Biden’s troop-removal process, putting the party in a position of hypocrisy — and hoping Americans just conveniently forget things — because of Trump. Again.

As the party executes this fool-proof plan, it has at least one thorn in its side.

Vocal Trump critics like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) aren’t letting Republicans and those critical of the unfolding situation in Afghanistan forget that former President Trump and his administration tried to make similar moves to those that the Biden administration has carried out in recent months.

While critical of the Biden administration’s decision to officially pull the U.S. out of the region, Kinzinger — a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served as a pilot in both Iraq and Afghanistan — posted a series of tweets going after his party, Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Kinzinger warned Republicans that Trump couldn’t “memory hole” his administration’s efforts to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

He went after Pompeo for posting similar takes, as well as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), former Trump social media staffer Dan Scavino and gun-toting congresswoman Lauren Boebert.

U.S. intelligence predicted just last week that it would take weeks for Taliban militants to take hold of the city of Kabul. It only took a few days, and the situation escalated substantially over the weekend, leaving the U.S. in the position it is now, scrambling to evacuate personnel and allies from the region.

While he admitted the Taliban takeover happened quicker than U.S. officials expected, Biden defended his decision in a speech on Monday, with cutting precision: The Talibans quick takeover shows just how necessary it was for the U.S. to get out of the country.

“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said Monday.

We will remember.

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