Kevin McCarthy fumbles and contradicts himself as he tries to explain what Biden's Afghanistan mistake
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has had a lot of political maneuvering to do this week. The California Republican has been vehemently critical of President Joe Biden's handling of the Afghanistan crisis — while carefully avoiding criticism of former President Donald Trump and glossing over the fact that Biden was essentially following the Trump/Mike Pompeo plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. And reporters are pointing out how badly McCarthy is contradicting himself and flailing around as he tries to articulate a coherent argument.
At a news conference this week, McCarthy contemptuously said of Biden's administration, "Why would you negotiate with the Taliban?" But negotiating with the Taliban is exactly what Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did in 2020. Pompeo met with Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and Trump even talked about bringing the Taliban to Camp David.
Neocon Republican war hawks like Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and former National Security Adviser John Bolton have at least been consistent in their views, slamming the Trump/Pompeo plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan as badly flawed and slamming Biden for following it. And paleoconservative isolationist Patrick Buchanan, writing for the right-wing Antiwar.com website this month, has criticized U.S. involvement in Afghanistan as a failed nation-building experiment that was doomed from the start.
But McCarthy wants to have it both ways, attacking Biden as weak on national defense without directly criticizing Trumpist isolationism.
One reporter pointed out that Trump did something McCarthy is now criticizing Biden's administration for: Trump negotiated with the Taliban:
"You said 'you shouldn't be negotiating with the Taliban.' Trump did that too, to be clear. So, I mean, was it wrong when he did it?"pic.twitter.com/rP7MNWVQFX— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1630077261
Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman described McCarthy's contradictions in detail:
And then he said no one believes there should be troops there.\n\nSo we\u2019re all a bit unclear on what he believes here.\n\nAnd, yes, we asked him about the dissonance between his position now and when Trump was in office.— Jake Sherman (@Jake Sherman) 1630076024
For ex: he also said in this news conference that we shouldn\u2019t be negotiating with the taliban. I asked what about trump? He negotiated with them. And he said there were conditions. But still \u2014 he negotiated w the taliban.— Jake Sherman (@Jake Sherman) 1630076684
That means keeping troops in Afghanistan.https://twitter.com/ryanobles/status/1431283777809100813\u00a0\u2026— Jake Sherman (@Jake Sherman) 1630079818
CNN's Kendall Brown described McCarthy's tortured logic this way:
Kevin McCarthy\u2019s entire argument essentially boils down to, \u201cwe should have done exactly the opposite of what Donald Trump promised we\u2019d do, restarting the war and provoking likely Taliban attacks on thousands of US military members.\u201dhttps://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1431272687012302856\u00a0\u2026— Kendall Brown (@Kendall Brown) 1630081965
Here are some other tweets pointing out McCarthy's contradictions:
It is the complete opposite of what he said over four years as Trump drew down troops and cut deals with the Taliban that 1) freed the current leader, & 2) promised to pull all our troops out by May. McCarthy supported that. Like everyone else, he want to deflect blame.— Victoria Butler (@Victoria Butler) 1630080222
It\u2019s notable that all of the people familiar with Bagram trying to explain why keeping it would not have been the panacea to the issues we\u2019re currently facing are being just completely ignored by most coverage of thishttps://twitter.com/jonathanlanday/status/1431055126878466057\u00a0\u2026— Max (@Max) 1630080282
Kevin McCarthy is spewing dangerous lies about Afghanistan, because he\u2019s a desperate and pathetic traitor.— Scott Dworkin (@Scott Dworkin) 1629931883
- Kevin McCarthy jokes about hitting Nancy Pelosi at Republican ... ›
- Pelosi's office slams Kevin McCarthy for 'empty stunt' following Kabul ... ›
- Former Reagan assistant: Thousands of Americans ‘died in vain’ in the ‘needless’ Afghan War - Alternet.org ›
- Biden gives a powerful response to critics as US leaves Afghanistan: 'Not going to extend this forever war' - Alternet.org ›
- Biden’s unlikely defender on Afghanistan: He 'had the balls to do it' - Alternet.org ›
- Liz Cheney's revelation about Jan. 6 committee should terrify McCarthy - Alternet.org ›
- 'Distrust' of leadership sets off a civil war inside the House Republican Conference: report - Alternet.org ›