'Not even close, congressman': Matt Gaetz clashes with Gen. Milley in heated hearing

'Not even close, congressman': Matt Gaetz clashes with Gen. Milley in heated hearing
Army Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Burden, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan. One of the House Republicans who questioned him was Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who was more interesting in trying to discredit Milley and President Joe Biden than hearing what he had to say about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from that country.

Holding up a copy of Bob Woodward and Robert Costa's new book, "Peril," a hostile Gaetz told Milley, "You spent more time with Bob Woodward on this book than you spent analyzing the very likely prospect that the Afghanistan government was going to fall immediately to the Taliban, didn't you?"

The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman responded, "Not even close, congressman." And Gaetz asked Milley,

Milley told Gaetz, "What I said was that the situation was stalemate, and if we kept advisers there, the government of Afghanistan and the Army would have still been there. That's what I said."

Gaetz repeated his claim that Milley was "far more interested" in being interviewed for "insider Washington books" than dealing with the conditions in Afghanistan, and when Democratic Rep. Chrissy Houlahan had a chance to question Milley, the Pennsylvania Democrat said of Gaetz, "I apologize for the behavior of my colleague. I'm deeply, deeply appreciative of your service."

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