Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) told Breitbart News Tonight that the Republican and Democrat proposal to tie President Donald Trump’s hands from withdrawing from Afghanistan is “egregious” and “exactly the opposite of what we should do.”
Banks — a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a veteran who served in Afghanistan — spoke to Breitbart News Tonight host Rebecca Mansour after Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the chair of the House Republican Conference, cosponsored an amendment with Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would restrict Trump’s ability to withdraw from Afghanistan.
The amendment would stipulate that the Department of Defense (DOD) must verify that it will not create new opportunities for terrorism and not affect the United States’ ability to counter the Islamic State (ISIS), al-Qaeda, and other armed combatants.
Banks, who supports Trump’s ending of the war in Afghanistan, said that many of the Republicans said that Trump was elected to end America’s “endless wars,” which includes Afghanistan and Iraq. The Hoosier called the amendment “egregious.”
Banks told Breitbart News Tonight that these Republicans “still don’t get it, they’re trying to tie the president’s hands. The president who was elected on a platform of getting us out of endless wars other than keeping us involved in conflict, which just seems to go on forever.”
The amendment was passed with strong support from Republicans and Democrats. Many Republicans voted for the amendment to restrict Trump’s ability from withdrawing from Afghanistan, including:
- Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)
- Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
- Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
- Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
- Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH)
- Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
- Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)
- Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
- Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
- Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
- Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA)
- Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
- Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI)
- Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)
- Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI)
- Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI)
- Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL)
Eleven Republicans voted against the measure to restrict the president’s ability to withdraw from Afghanistan, including:
- Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN)
- Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL)
- Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL)
- Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)
- Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA)
- Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MI)
- Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)
- Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA)
Reps. Anthony Brown (D-MD), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) also voted against Cheney and Crow’s amendment.
Banks said that Trump broke some of the bipartisan orthodoxy surrounding the country’s Afghanistan policy by moving to end the war in Afghanistan.
“President Trump took a different path when he came into office and said rather than sort of repeating ourselves every single year, fighting an annual war every year, we’re going to take a different approach and focus less on nation-building in Afghanistan and focus more on counterterrorism and beating the bad guys, which is not what we were doing under President Obama,” he explained.
Banks said that the president’s strategy would “put us in a better situation where we could bring out troops home.” Banks noted that his service in Afghanistan has deeply influenced his belief that America should end the war in Afghanistan.
Banks added that many Republicans “believe that we should tie the president’s hands that we shouldn’t leave Afghanistan. I have deeply held beliefs about this, I served there, I served with some people who didn’t come home, part of our unit, I want more than anything for our men and women to come home, and I want to leave a safe and stable Afghanistan behind as well.”
“It’s exactly the opposite of what we should do,” Banks said of the Republican and Democrat amendment to tie the president’s hands from withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Many Republicans also voted for another amendment, which was also placed in the NDAA, which would prevent the United States from withdrawing troops from Germany and moving them to Poland. Banks said this move would apply pressure towards Russia, which runs counter to the narrative that Trump is soft on Russia.
“President Donald Trump is playing out a strategy that most people, at least my colleagues in Congress, can’t understand. A very strategic effort by the president to do what he’s done since he’s been in office, put pressure on Germany to do more, to do more on their part rather than American continuing to pump billions of dollars into more money for NATO when Germany doesn’t come anywhere near their defense commitments for their own military,” he explained.
“President Trump sending troops from Germany to Poland, and why would he do that? He would do that to put pressure on Russia, which exactly the opposite of the left-wing narrative Trump is collusion and colluding with Putin, he’s in bed with Russia,” Banks added.
Banks said that if former Vice President Joe Biden were to become president, America would likely never leave Afghanistan.
“I don’t think there’s any chance of that,” Banks said. “Whether it’s Afghanistan or China, the problem with Joe Biden is that there’s not enough of a deep understanding of what we’re up against. There hasn’t been an articulated vision of how he handles these security threats.”
Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.