- The Washington Times - Monday, August 16, 2021

John R. Bolton says the calamitous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will go down in history as “the Trump-Biden policy.”

Mr. Bolton, who served as former President Trump’s national security adviser, said in a Daily Telegraph op-ed that Mr. Biden’s approach to withdrawing troops from Afghanistan was “virtually indistinguishable from Donald Trump’s.”

The former adviser, though, said Mr. Biden’s insistence that Mr. Trump left him with only two bad options — “follow Trump’s blueprint or else considerably increase US combat forces in Afghanistan” — is a “strawman argument” and “palpably false.”

Mr. Bolton, who has been an outspoken Trump critic since he was pushed out of the White House in 2019, said other former Trump officials are now trying to save face.

“Hoping to salvage his reputation from Trump’s ashes, former secretary of state Michael Pompeo has tried to distinguish Trump’s performance from Biden’s,” Mr. Bolton said. “Pompeo defends Trump’s withdrawal decision while criticizing Biden for poorly executing it.”

“Arguing that Trump’s plan was ‘conditions based,’ Pompeo contends that US and Nato forces would have responded forcefully had the Taliban violated the deal,” he said. “Maybe. Maybe not. In the end, Biden, like Trump, had wanted to withdraw, and he did. History will label the US withdrawal ‘the Trump-Biden policy.’”

Mr. Bolton said Mr. Trump was “determined” to get out of Afghanistan. He said Mr. Trump wanted the troops out “before the 2020 elections, but he failed because of his perpetual intellectual disarray.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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