President Biden is facing a crisis of confidence in his ability to serve as commander in chief due to the overwhelming negative fallout he is receiving over the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, which left 13 U.S. service members dead and Americans and Afghan allies stranded.
Former defense officials, military leaders and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have criticized Biden for leaving Americans behind as the last U.S. C-17 plane took off from Kabul Monday night, despite the president’s promise weeks ago that “If there are American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out.”
BIDEN SEES DEM SUPPORT DWINDLE OVER AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL
Foreign policy experts are also warning that the international credibility of the U.S. has diminished, as both allies and adversaries now view America and the Biden administration as weak and unable to protect its own citizens and crucial partners from the Taliban and terrorist attacks.
In addition, families of the 13 service members killed by an ISIS-K attack near the Kabul airport last Thursday are expressing outrage at Biden for his bungled decisions that directly led to the deaths of their loved ones.
Public confidence in Biden has also diminished due to the Afghanistan withdrawal, according to a CBS News poll released last week, which found that the majority of Americans do not consider Biden to be competent, focused or effective at the job. In addition, the president’s overall approval rating dropped to 50%, down from 58% in July, and 74% said the removal of U.S. troops has gone very or somewhat badly.
Former defense officials say Biden’s decision have made the U.S. an ‘unreliable partner’ to allies
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy Michael C. Ryan told Fox News in a statement that both America’s “capability and will are suspect” after Biden’s “ill-advised” decision to hastily leave Afghanistan.
“The presence of U.S. and NATO forces in the heart of Eurasia was a clear signal to the region of the capability and will of America and her allies to pursue our vital interests together. Both our capability and will are suspect now,” said Ryan.
“The unilateral and hasty manner in which this decision was taken will likely reinforce the now entrenched belief in many parts of Europe that America is an unreliable partner and will undermine President Biden’s ability to pursue his stated preference for working closely with our allies and partners.”
Former top Obama advisor David Axelrod called the withdrawal from Afghanistan “a disaster” and a “failure” and urged Biden to reassess the situation on the ground as the Taliban took control of the country.
Additionally, Obama’s Afghanistan Ambassador Ryan Crocker said the withdrawal has “created a global crisis, quite frankly.” He said in an interview, “I am afraid that as the Taliban gains more control, they are going to go after all of those in Afghanistan who have spoken the truth…and certainly those who have helped us directly, like the interpreters.”
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Heino Klinck told Fox News that the international community is viewing Biden’s Afghanistan exit as a “truly humiliating withdrawal,” which is damaging to the status of the U.S. on the world stage in eyes of adversaries, including China and Russia, as well as its allies.
“I do believe that the current situation is an absolute debacle to have broader international implications. The current chaos is being viewed and portrayed as a tragic mix of American incompetence, negligence and weakness and that certainly furthers Beijing’s narrative of U.S. decline.”
“And we see in the propaganda coming out of Beijing and coming out of Moscow, that our adversaries are gloating and conveying that America cannot be trusted. So, this has to worry our friends and partners, particularly in Taiwan as well as in the Ukraine.”
Family of killed service members scorn Biden’s ‘fumbled’ decisions
Jim McCollum, father of Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum who died in the Kabul airport bombing, told Fox & Friends Tuesday that Biden “fumbled the ball” every step of the way in his administration’s military decisions, leading to his son’s death at the hands of ISIS terrorists.
“The way he has handled this, everything he’s done every step along the way has been absolutely backwards. And I don’t understand the process of how how they came to the decision that they made. A high school kid could make better decisions than they made in this. They may have fumbled the ball every step of the way,” said McCollum.
BLINKEN PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR AMERICANS LEFT IN AFGHANISTAN AFTER WITHDRAWAL
The mother of Rylee, Kathy McCollum, said she blamed “dementia-ridden” Biden for her son’s death.
“Twenty years and 6 months old, getting ready to go home from freaking Jordan to be home with his wife to watch the birth of his son, and that feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap just sent my son to die,” she said during a radio interview.
The father of fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui spoke out on “Tucker Carlson Tonight about the “chaotic” and “not really planned out” situation in Kabul in the days leading to his son’s death.
Steve Nikoui said, “The way that the Taliban had pretty much infiltrated the whole country so fast, and we were kind of just, it seemed, left to just this one little airport, really concerned me,” he said. “And the videos that we were getting and the pictures we were getting from him looked somewhat chaotic.”
Political leaders and former military slam Biden’s ‘shameful’ Afghanistan exit
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, strongly criticized Biden’s “shameful” American exit from Afghanistan, leaving Americans behind, in a statement Monday. “The President made the morally indefensible decision to leave Americans behind. Dishonor was the President’s choice. May history never forget this cowardice,” said Sasse.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the first female combat veteran to serve in the Senate, a veteran of the Global War on Terror and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee slammed Biden for breaking his promise to Americans.
“What a surreal and gut-wrenching reality: America left our own behind. The president broke our promise to American citizens and to those who bravely served alongside us. The Taliban is celebrating. There’s no doubt the very threats and terrorist organizations that brought us to the region some twenty years ago are more emboldened now. It is incumbent upon the president and this administration to be clear-eyed about what could result from this poorly planned and executed exit. The safety and security of the American people depend on it.”
PSAKI SIDESTEPS QUESTION ON WHETHER BIDEN REGRETS AFGHANISTAN PULLOUT
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called a press conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill with House veterans calling on Biden to quickly deliver a plan to rescue stranded Americans.
“What is the plan to get Americans out? Never in my lifetime would I ever believe America would have an administration knowingly make a decision to leave Americans behind,” said McCarthy.
Former Air Force B-1 pilot Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said on Twitter that the “fundamental duty” of the president is saving Americans who are left behind.
“No. American. Left. Behind. There’s nothing political about that statement. There’s nothing controversial about that sentiment. That’s the fundamental duty of our Commander in Chief. [President Biden] Turn the planes around. There are Americans behind enemy lines who want to come home.”
Former Navy SEAL Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas., who previously served in Afghanistan, said during the GOP press conference that “we’re still at war” against the Taliban and it is time that the Biden administration recognizes that and rescues trapped Americans and partners.
Crenshaw expressed disbelief that the Biden administration could even toy with the idea that the Taliban could be recognized as a government, saying, “They’re on our terrorist watch list. They they they were driving around our Blackhawk helicopters with our allies hanging from below them. They’re going around and killing sprees, killing American citizens and allies. That’s who these people are. That’s who they always were. That’s why we had to fight them.”
“We ended no wars yesterday. We’re still at war. And it’s time that our administration actually recognizes that and recognizes that there’s American citizens on the ground still at war. And we need to get them out,” said Crenshaw.
REPS. SCALISE, MAST: BIDEN’S AFGHANISTAN EXIT IS A DISGRACE AND IT’S ONE OF MANY AVOIDABLE DISASTERS
However, criticism of Biden has not been limited to Republicans, and is also coming from members of the Democratic Party, who primarily have disagreed with the administration’s arbitrary Aug. 31 deadline to remove all U.S. troops.
Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., said that the U.S. will need answers regarding the “cascading failures” leading to the botched Afghanistan withdrawal after 20 years in the country.
“In order to move forward, our country will need to receive answers and accountability regarding the cascading failures that led us to this catastrophic moment, and I look forward to using my platform on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to secure answers from the Biden Administration about what went wrong,” said Wild. “Our troops deserve nothing less than a complete and unvarnished account of the truth.”
Democratic Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., accused the Biden administration earlier this month of implementing a “flawed plan” that “clearly did not accurately assess the implications of a rapid U.S. withdrawal.”
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., also stated “We must complete this mission, regardless of any arbitrary deadlines” and Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., a Navy veteran, had said it was more important to focus on getting Americans out of Afghanistan than sticking to the Aug. 31 deadline.
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At least 45 members of Congress have called for Biden’s removal from office since the Afghanistan withdrawal went awry.
Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi, Houston Keene and Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.