On Sunday, Former President Trump released a statement criticizing President Biden’s decision to push back the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
The Trump administration had set a May 1 withdrawal deadline and the Republican former president’s statement said that the U.S. “should keep as close to that schedule as possible.”
Trump also criticized Biden’s decision to use September 11th as a marker for the withdrawal.
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) April 18, 2021
Trump: ‘Getting Out Of Afghanistan Is A Wonderful And Positive Thing To Do’
Trump made clear that he opposes staying in Afghanistan any longer.
“I wish Joe Biden wouldn’t use September 11 as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for two reasons,” Trump’s statement read.
“First, we can and should get out earlier. Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long,” Trump said.
Trump called Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan “a wonderful and positive thing to do” — once again putting him at odds with top Republicans who’ve widely condemned the move. https://t.co/nctP5QwCLG
— Axios (@axios) April 18, 2021
Trump added, “Secondly, September 11 represents a very sad event and period for our Country and should remain a day of reflection and remembrance honoring those great souls we lost.”
“Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do. I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible,” Trump said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Afghanistan troop withdrawal plan:
“Apparently, we’re to help our adversaries ring in the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by gift-wrapping the country and handing it right back to them.” pic.twitter.com/hKEHSXlgqs
— The Recount (@therecount) April 14, 2021
Establishment Republicans At Odds With Trump
Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy kept him at odds with top establishment Republicans, who have widely criticized Biden’s decision to withdraw troops.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a “grave mistake.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham said removing troops from the Afghanistan – after two decades – is a “disaster in the making.”
With all due respect to former President Trump, there is nothing ‘wonderful’ or ‘positive’ about allowing safe havens and sanctuary for terrorists to reemerge in Afghanistan or see Afghanistan be drawn back into another civil war.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) April 19, 2021
GOP Sens. McConnell and Graham have long taken more hawkish positions more similar to the neoconservative George W. Bush-Dick Cheney Republican era, than Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy.
Trump had trouble ending the war in Afghanistan from the Democrats as well.
In July 2020, The Intercept reported that Democrats teamed up with ‘never Trump’ Republican Liz Cheney to frustrate Trump’s efforts to get the United States out of the war.
Cheney and Democrats worked together to block the Trump administration from using funds to further withdraw troops. Their amendment made it into the National Defense Authorization bill.
Cheney and others cited the now-in-question “Russia bounties” story as part of their reasoning to prevent Trump from further withdrawing forces.
Skeptics have also questioned whether Biden plans to “withdraw all troops” from Afghanistan.
A New York Times articled headlined, “Biden to Withdraw All Combat Troops From Afghanistan by Sept. 11” says that American forces will remain.
Some thirty paragraphs after that bold headline, this appears:
“Instead of declared troops in Afghanistan, the United States will most likely rely on a shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives to find and attack the most dangerous Qaeda or Islamic State threats, current and former American officials said.”
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