Scalise: Afghanistan Is an ‘Epic Failure’ — ‘This Is President Biden’s Saigon Moment’

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan was “an epic failure on President Biden’s foreign policy.”

Scalise added that the chaotic removal of U.S. personnel from the U.S. embassy in Kabul is “President Biden’s Saigon moment.”

Partial transcript as follows:

NANCY CORDES: You and your House colleagues just received a briefing from the secretaries of state and defense. What did they tell you? And are you confident that all U.S. diplomats are going to be able to get out of Afghanistan safely?

SCALISE: Well, during the call, you actually had events still continuing to unfold, and so in real time, we were seeing things on social media that they weren’t really talking about on the call. But it’s a very dire situation when you see the United States embassy being evacuated. In fact, you just had President Biden a few days ago saying you wouldn’t see helicopters evacuating the embassy like Saigon. And yet here we are. This is- this is President Biden’s Saigon moment. And unfortunately, it was very predictable. It seems like many in President Biden’s intelligence community got this devastatingly wrong. And I think a lot of questions will be asked later about why. Just weeks ago, they were saying something completely different than what we’re seeing on the ground today and in- in Afghanistan.

CORDES: Right. Last week, the president said he did not expect that the Taliban would be able to retake all of the country. But here’s what he’s saying now. He said this weekend, one more year or five more years of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. White House officials are essentially arguing it was President Trump who set this in motion when he agreed to withdraw U.S. troops completely by May 1st. So was all of this inevitable?

SCALISE: No, and in fact, we’ve seen a lot of finger pointing and blaming, you know, there- there used to be a saying that the buck stops here on the president’s desk, and he wants to blame everybody else. But look, President Trump had an agreement in place that was conditions based and those conditions were not met. In fact, many of the conditions included that the Taliban wouldn’t overtake the cities that they have now overtaken under President Biden’s leadership. So, President Biden didn’t follow through on the conditions that were in place. He just let them come and run roughshod in there, destroying documents, burning documents at the embassy and trying to get everybody out. They can, instead of following through on the commitments that were made. And this sends in a more concerning message to our allies around the world, really sends a concerning message to our enemies around the world who are watching this. China is very involved in what’s happening right now in Afghanistan as our other adversaries. And so they’re seeing just how easy it was to overtake these areas where the president really said it wouldn’t happen and it did happen. So it’s an epic failure on President Biden’s foreign policy. He needs to take ownership of it and take other steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again. If he’s not going to clean house, he was- was either widely misled by his own intelligence or he was misleading the American people deliberately. But he said very different things just days ago than what we’re seeing happen on the ground. He’s got to take ownership of that.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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