Republican lawmakers on Friday said President Biden‘s optimistic view on the scramble to evacuate U.S. citizens and vulnerable Afghans from the country don’t match reports on the ground.
In remarks from the White House, Mr. Biden said the U.S. was making progress on the Afghanistan evacuation. But reports from Kabul paint chaotic scenes outside the airport, where thousands are waiting in blistering heat with some waiting for days just to get inside.
Republicans seized on the contrast.
“President Biden is either divorced from reality or he‘s intentionally misleading the nation about what is actually happening in Afghanistan,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina Republican. “The evacuation process is a nightmare. It is unconscionable that the most powerful nation on earth won’t guarantee the safe passage of American citizens, instead choosing to put their fate in the hands of the Taliban.”
Mr. Tillis also blasted the president’s claims that Americans can safely get to the airport as reports of violence and chaos along roads have slowed the evacuation process. Taliban militants have set up checkpoints blocking Americans and vulnerable Afghans from reaching the airports.
“President Biden appears willfully ignorant to the fact that these American citizens and Afghans are being forced to get through Taliban checkpoints and are having extreme difficulty getting to the airport and inside of it,” he continued. “Their journey is especially harrowing as we hear more reports of Americans being beaten and the Taliban going door-to-door to execute Afghans who served alongside American troops.”
The Republican National Committee said Mr. Biden‘s claims of safe passage to the airport are “verifiably false.”
“Joe Biden created a disaster in Afghanistan, and now Americans and our allies are paying the price,” said RNC spokeswoman Emma Vaughn. “Biden‘s claims that Americans can safely get to the Kabul airport and that our allies support his management handling of the crisis are verifiably false. Americans deserve accountability and transparency, not continued lies and failure.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan, Alaska Republican, called Mr. Biden‘s views “disconnected from the reality on the ground.”
“Right now, thousands of Americans and our Afghan partners stand in harm’s way on a tarmac in Kabul, or worse, in Taliban-controlled areas elsewhere in the country as America’s standing in the world erodes,” he said.
Democrats, for their part, were largely mum on Mr. Biden‘s remarks. A Friday afternoon scroll of Twitter accounts for Democrat lawmakers revealed their focus was on issues such as student debt and COVID-19 vaccines.