Dem Rep. Himes: ‘Biden Is the Kind of Guy’ to ‘Own up’ to Afghanistan Withdrawal Problems

On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) reacted to the Biden administration’s Afghanistan report by stating that “Joe Biden is the kind of guy who would own up to what Harry Truman asked presidents to own up to.”

Co-host Mika Brzezinski said, “Congressman, a new White House report is mainly blaming the Trump administration for the United States’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. It’s a twelve-page assessment released by the National Security Council yesterday.” After referencing parts of the report that blame the Trump administration and playing a clip of White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby also blaming the Trump administration, Brzezinski asked, “Congressman, many would argue that the withdrawal, actually day of, was quite chaotic and cumbersome. Is the pushback warranted?”

Himes responded, “Well, Mika, if this is an exercise in dividing blame between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, let’s also remember that Kirby said yesterday something that is consistent with what we all respect Harry Truman for saying, which is that the buck stops here. John Kirby yesterday [said], the president of the United States, the commander-in-chief bears ultimate responsibility for the operational actions of the troops. And Joe Biden is the kind of guy who would own up to what Harry Truman asked presidents to own up to. By the way, that report also noted that they should have started that withdrawal earlier and in a more orderly fashion. Now, can anybody imagine the Trump administration saying, yeah, at the end of the day, I bear operational responsibility?”

He continued, “But Mika, to get to the point you asked about, 2,500 troops when Joe Biden becomes president, on the week after January 6, when my workplace was attacked by insurgents, there were more than 2,500 troops guarding Capitol Hill, more than 2,500 National Guards[men] guarding Capitol Hill. So, with 2,500 troops, you do not have options. And people always say, well, why didn’t we keep the Bagram Airfield open, why didn’t we secure the roads? Because we barely had enough troops to secure an airport. So, again, the key point here is, that I think Joe Biden — and Kirby said it yesterday — took ultimate responsibility for what was a terribly painful withdrawal, something you cannot imagine Donald Trump ever saying. And again, remember the resources that were on the ground when Joe Biden was sworn in as president, barely enough to guard an airfield.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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