Biden on Monday said he does not regret his decision to withdraw US forces despite facing criticism over his handling of the maneuver, claiming that he stands “squarely behind my decision.”
Top Republicans slammed his remarks, accusing him of failing to take responsibility for his administration’s fumbled policy.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Biden’s rhetoric could harm diplomatic relations abroad, arguing that by casting blame on Afghan leaders he is sending a message that the US is not serious about standing by its allies.
“He said ‘the buck stops with me’ and then he goes on to blame everyone else — that’s not leadership,” he told The Post.
“The rest of the world is watching this. How would President Biden convince any ally of ours in the future to stand with us on any foreign policy initiatives after he abandoned the country to completely fall to the Taliban and then blamed the Afghan army? He blamed the Afghan army for this — is he going to be able to go to any other country and get their support for anything he’s trying to do diplomatically?”
The Louisiana Republican said that adversaries including Russia and China are likely to look at the rise of the Taliban as a win.
“I’m sure they’re [Taiwan and Ukraine] very concerned right now. And on the counter side of that, you know, China and Russia are watching it too, and are probably celebrating this failure, which is not a good position for the United States of America,” he added.
Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), a Navy veteran and member of House GOP leadership, echoed Scalise’s sentiments, expressing concerns that the US’s standing has been weakened on the world stage.
“He may say quote unquote ‘the buck stops here,’ but before and after he says that he blames everybody around him,” he told The Post.
“I mean this is a debacle and everybody knows it. What’s worse is it signals to our allies that we may not be there when they need us. And it also bolsters al Qaeda, ISIS, obviously the Taliban and the near peer adversaries like Russia and China, that we’re not going to defend our allies and withdraw like this.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blasted Biden for taking several days before addressing the American public, joining several lawmakers in criticizing both the White House and Pentagon’s lack of answers on a cohesive plan moving forward.
“After six days of silence, President Biden finally addressed the worst foreign policy disaster in decades. His remarks did not answer any questions about the disastrous troop withdrawal that has failed to protect American citizens, put thousands of American troops in harm’s way, and heightened the threat of terrorism around the world,” he said in a statement.
“But President Biden is right about one thing: the buck stops with him. He owes the American people a cohesive plan to get every American out of Afghanistan immediately and safely, target terrorists wherever they seek refuge, and secure our border.”
And Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), a retired US Army Major, went as far as calling on Biden to resign over his handling of the situation.
“Just when you think Joe Biden couldn’t be any worse a leader, he hits yet another new low trying to blame Afghans who have fought alongside Americans for years — many losing their lives,” he told The Post. “The only thing that changed was we abandoned them in the dead of night. It’s unconscionable. Biden needs to step down.”
McCarthy has called for Congress to investigate what intel the Biden Administration used while making its decision to move forward with withdrawing troops.
Scalise said he also feels it’s critical that they obtain further information on the matter, noting that he had received conflicting statements.
“I think there’s, there are still many unanswered questions starting with the intelligence failures, because we had been hearing that this approach would lead to devastating consequences for the people of Afghanistan, that the whole country could fall quickly,” he said.
“Yet Biden, just days ago, was saying that there was no way this was going to happen, and that it wouldn’t be like Saigon with helicopters evacuating the embassy, and then you fast forward just a few days later and helicopters are evacuating the embassy.
“So either President Biden misled the American people just a few days ago, or his intelligence failed him epicly, either of those two options are not good. But one of the two of them is what happened. So which one is it, and I do think we need to know those answers because if it was his intelligence team that failed him and misled him, he needs to clean house,” he said.