Former President Donald Trump castigated his successor’s handling of the withdrawal of remaining Americans from Afghanistan, characterizing it as “the greatest embarrassment in the history of our country.”
Trump appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” Tuesday where he discussed the instability in the country following the pullout of U.S. troops and the Taliban's successful seizure of Kabul. “I don’t think in all of the years our country has ever been so humiliated,” he said. “There’s never been anything like what’s happened here.”
The former president reiterated his longstanding support for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan while slamming the Biden administration’s execution of that mission: “It’s a great thing that we’re getting out but nobody has ever handled a withdrawal worse than Joe Biden. This is the greatest embarrassment, I believe, in the history of our country.”
As Trump noted, thousands of Americans are stranded in Afghanistan because “the Taliban has circled the airport.”
While the former president noted that he's heard "as many as 40,000 Americans” are stranded in the country, CBS News reported that a congressional aide told the news outlet that there are between 10,000 to 15,000 Americans stuck in Afghanistan.
According to Fox News, members of the Biden administration have given differing figures when asked how many American civilians remain in Afghanistan. While White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that at least 11,000 Americans remain in Afghanistan, Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby estimated that between 5,000 and 10,000 Americans remain in the war-torn country.
While much of Trump’s interview with “Hannity” focused on the dangers Americans face as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan, and how Biden's exit differed from his administration's plans, faith leaders are also warning about the repercussions for the nation’s Christian community.
One Afghan Christian, who spoke with CBN News anonymously, predicted that “the Taliban are going to eliminate the Christian population of Afghanistan.”
Host Sean Hannity noted that Biden blamed Trump for causing the situation in Afghanistan. In his speech to the nation Monday, the president specifically criticized the deal his predecessor struck with the Taliban before leaving office. The former president devoted part of his appearance on the Fox News program to defending the deal. “We had a great deal. We worked on it very hard,” he recalled.
“I spoke on numerous occasions to the head of the Taliban and we had [a] very strong conversation. I told him up front, I said, ‘Look, before we start, let me just tell you right now that if anything bad happens to Americans or anybody else or if you ever come over to our land, we will hit you with a force that no country has ever been hit with before, a force so great that you won’t even believe it.”
In addition to criticizing the Biden administration’s actions over the past week, the former president illustrated how he would have handled the pullout of Afghanistan. Lamenting that “we [took] the military out before we took our civilians out,” he said that under his plan for withdrawal, “We were going to take the military out last.”
“The people come out first, then I was going to take all of the military equipment, we have billions and billions of dollars worth of new black hawk helicopters, brand new, that Russia now will be examining, and so will China and so will everybody else,” he added. “He should have gotten the civilians out first. Then, he should have taken the military equipment. We have billions of dollars of brand new beautiful equipment. Take the equipment out and then take the soldiers out.”
Trump warned that forts that the U.S. had built were “being now used by the enemy.” He maintained that he would have ordered the military to “blow up all the forts” before they left.
Tuesday’s appearance on “Hannity” was not the first time the former president has spoken out forcefully against his successor in the midst of the turmoil in Afghanistan. Over the weekend, Trump released a statement calling on Biden to resign: “It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan, along with the tremendous surge in COVID, the Border catastrophe, the destruction of energy independence, and our crippled economy.”
Trump isn't the only former member of the Executive Branch to rip Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal. In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, former Vice President Mike Pence, who served alongside Trump for four years, elaborated on the deal that the Trump administration struck with the Taliban.
“In February 2020, the Trump administration reached an agreement that required the Taliban to end all attacks on U.S. military personnel, to refuse terrorists safe harbor, and to negotiate with Afghan leaders on creating a new government. As long as these conditions were met, the U.S. would conduct a gradual and orderly withdrawal of military forces,” he wrote.
Alleging that Biden “broke our deal” by keeping troops in Afghanistan past the agreed pullout date, Pence slammed the “manner in which Mr. Biden executed this withdrawal” as “a disgrace, unworthy of the courageous American service men and women whose blood still stains the soil of Afghanistan.”
Public opinion polling indicates that the American public overwhelmingly disapproves of Biden’s management of the Afghanistan exit. A poll released Monday by the Trafalgar Group found that 69.3% of Americans disapproved of Biden’s handling of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan compared to just 23.1% who approved. In addition to majorities of Republicans and independents, a plurality of Democrats (48.2%) also expressed some level of disapproval with the administration’s recent foreign policy moves related to Afghanistan.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org