House Republicans bashed the Biden administration in a conference call after Thursday’s double suicide bombing at Kabul’s international airport, sources told The Post.
The bombing killed at least 13 US service members and 60 Afghan citizens and came amid an already chaotic evacuation operation as the Taliban swiftly seizes power in the war-torn country.
House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaul (R-Texas) called President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all US troops out of Afghanistan by the end of this month the “worst presidential foreign policy decision in my lifetime and an unconditional surrender to the Taliban,” a senior Republican source on the call told The Post.
McCaul added that viewing Aug. 31 as a “red line” date beyond which no US troops could remain in the country was “an outright disgrace,” the source added.
A second senior GOP source on the call told The Post that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) repeated his view that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should bring the House back into session as soon as possible so that all members could be briefed on the situation in Afghanistan.
“[I] promise you there is going to be a reckoning,” McCarthy said at one point, according to the first source. “Every option is on the table.”
However, the second source told The Post that McCarthy showed no enthusiasm for calls by some members to push for the resignation of senior White House officials and Cabinet members – or even the impeachment of President Biden himself.
One lawmaker making such calls was Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), who described Secretary of State Antony Blinken as “a total disaster,” the first source said.
Both McCarthy and McCaul showed more enthusiasm for seeking the preservation of documents and pursuing a congressional investigation into the execution of the withdrawal. One GOP member on the call told the Post that McCaul pinned the fiasco on a failure of US leadership, rather than a failure of the American intelligence community.
With days remaining before the exit deadline, the second GOP source told The Post that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley had informed ranking members of House committees that the military is trying to get all of its members out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31, but there is “no way” they will get every American citizen out by that time.
That disclosure has led to a renewed push in favor of legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) — a former Marine who did two tours of duty in Iraq — that would require the Pentagon to certify that every American who wished to leave Afghanistan had been evacuated before US forces leave the country.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the No. 1 priority “is to get all Americans and all of our allies out of Afghanistan.”
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) agreed, telling her GOP colleagues, “The America First agenda means we get our partners out also,” according to the first source.
The full House is not due back in session until Sept. 20, with next week set aside for committee work. So far, Pelosi has rebuffed McCarthy’s urging to recall all members, with her office dismissing the suggestions as “empty stunts.”