House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other GOP lawmakers on Tuesday scolded the Biden administration for agreeing to a timeline with the Taliban for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
But none of them mentioned that this was former President Donald Trump’s plan ― and that they supported it when it was his idea or simply said nothing.
During a press conference on Capitol Hill, McCarthy criticized President Joe Biden for agreeing to an Aug. 31 deadline with the violent Afghan military group for evacuating Americans and allies out of the country.
“Let me be crystal clear: This isn’t the U.S. government timeline,” said McCarthy, standing with several GOP lawmakers who served in the military. “It’s the Taliban’s timeline.”
“We had an unconditional surrender to the Taliban,” said Rep. Mike McCaul (Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I never thought I would see this in my life,” he added. “It’s embarrassing, shameful, wrong to our veterans who served so well.”
Go back to March 2020, though, and they had a much different take on the situation. Trump had just announced his so-called peace deal with Taliban leaders, which included a 14-month timetable for withdrawing U.S. military forces from Afghanistan and releasing 5,000 prisoners back to the Taliban.
Republicans were divided on the agreement. But McCarthy tried to keep any critics from speaking up about it. During a March 3, 2020, press conference, the GOP leader told reporters he was urging members of his caucus to read the details of Trump’s deal before opposing it.
“A number of those members can now go down and read it in the SCIF,” said McCarthy, referring to a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or a secure location for reading sensitive materials. “That was one recommendation we had to all the members. I first would want to know all the details before someone makes an opinion about it.”
McCaul, too, was on board with working with the Taliban.
“There’s a healthy amount of skepticism, but I think we have to give it a chance to work,” McCaul told Politico in March 2020.
“We knew the Taliban is not a nice organization, they’re pretty ruthless,” he added. “But what’s the alternative?”
Others who criticized Biden’s troop withdrawals on Tuesday weren’t publicly saying anything about it in the spring of 2020, when Trump was hailing his deal with the Taliban to do the same thing.
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) ripped Biden for “a failure of leadership” for sticking with the timeline agreed to with the Taliban.
“While they’re killing people, while they’re refusing to adhere to the agreement … [Secretary of State] Antony Blinken wants to do a deal with the Taliban,” Green said. “It’s a common theme from Democrats leading in the White House. It’s unacceptable.”
But HuffPost couldn’t find any instances of Green speaking out against Trump agreeing to this plan in the first place.
Similarly, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), didn’t raise any concerns about Trump’s deal with the Taliban during a House Armed Services Committee hearing with military leaders on March 10, 2020. Other members of the committee did raise concerns that day, but Banks, a committee member, said nothing.
On Tuesday, though, Banks blamed Biden for catering to the Taliban on troop withdrawals.
“They ended the evacuation mission not because America decided to do so, but because this president, this commander in chief, kowtowed to the Taliban,” said the Indiana Republican. “He did what the Taliban told him to do.”
Biden is standing by his decision to pull American troops out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31, saying his decision to do so saved lives.
“I was not going to extend this forever war,” the president said in Tuesday remarks at the White House. “I was not extending a forever exit.”
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