Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) on Tuesday rejected President Joe Biden’s claim that some Afghans weren’t evacuated from the country sooner because they didn’t want to leave.
“That’s utter BS,” Moulton said, according to The Hill.
“I mean, don’t tell me that Afghans don’t want to leave when there’s been a backlog of Special Immigrant Visa applications for over a decade,” he added. “Don’t tell me they don’t want to leave when they’re literally clinging to airplanes to try to get out of this country. That was the single part of the president’s speech that I not only disagreed with but I thought was just utter BS.”
Moulton’s remarks follow Biden’s speech on Monday afternoon, in which he addressed the chaos surrounding the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“I know there are concerns about why we did not begin evacuating Afghan civilians sooner,” Biden said in the speech. “Part of the answer is some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier, still hopeful for their country. Part of it was because the Afghan government and its supporters discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to avoid triggering, as they said, a crisis of confidence.”
Biden also said he stands “squarely behind” the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and asserted that the US gave the Afghan military “every chance” against Taliban but “we couldn't give them the will to fight.”
Republicans blasted Biden after the speech, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan was "an unmitigated disaster."
"So against everyone's advice, including the current president’s own military, he decided to withdraw and to withdraw rapidly. What we have seen is an unmitigated disaster, a stain on the reputation of the United States of America," McConnell said.
"Every terrorist around the world, in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen, in Africa, are cheering the defeat of the United States military by a terrorist organization in Afghanistan," he added.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Biden “chose a dangerous and dishonorable path in Afghanistan, and he has no one to blame for this debacle but himself.”
“By standing by his decision to withdraw, President Biden is standing by to allow the slaughter of thousands of Afghans who have faithfully stood by America’s side. He is standing by to allow the rise of Al-Qaeda, in collaboration with the Taliban, to threaten America,” continued the South Carolina Senator.
Graham also wrote that Biden’s speech “was a pathetic attempt to shift blame and an unnerving analysis of the situation he – and he alone – created.”
“President Biden was quick to blame others and never acknowledging the blame lies with him. The essence of his address was ‘The buck stops with me, but President Trump and others made me do it.’ Not exactly Harry Truman,” he wrote in another tweet.