A leading group of conservative House Republicans are calling on President Biden and key members of his Cabinet to resign in the wake of the U.S.’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus returned to Capitol Hill Tuesday while on recess to propose three resolutions calling for the resignations of Mr. Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
“America faces a great division coming into this era of unspeakable grief as we look upon the failure of our executive branch to execute a well-planned withdrawal of American forces, citizens, allies and weaponry in Afghanistan,” said Rep. Clay Higgins, Louisiana Republican, who introduced the resolutions. “This administration has abandoned its oath to the American people, and it is the right thing to do for President Biden, Secretary Austin, and Chairman Milley to step down.”
Mr. Higgins was joined by 25 Republican co-sponsors in the House.
Representatives from the Pentagon did not provide a comment on the measures. The White House was not immediately available to respond to The Washington Times request for comment.
Last week, two members of the caucus, Reps. Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Andy Harris of Maryland, introduced articles of impeachment against Mr. Blinken for “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the wake of a suicide bombing targeting the airport in Kabul which killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 Afghan civilians, amid a growing outcry from lawmakers over the chaotic withdrawal and the swift victory of the hard-line Taliban insurgency.
Mr. Norman and Mr. Harris said “inexcusable failures” on behalf of Mr. Blinken led to the lives lost in Thursday’s terrorist attack in Kabul and “set a horrible precedent on the international stage.”
While sharply critical, the majority of lawmakers have so far stopped short of calling for anyone’s job. The Freedom Caucus resolution that Mr. Biden himself should step down marks a significant escalation in rhetoric on the day after the U.S.’s longest war came to an end.
While House Republicans remain incensed with the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal and by the fact that U.S. citizens remain in Afghanistan after all troops have departed, the party’s leaders are far from on-board with the demand for mass resignations at this point.
When asked directly about seeking impeachment proceedings, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, told reporters Monday that Republicans are focused for now on demanding a plan for the evacuation of those left behind.
“Look, right now you’ve got American citizens that were told to go to the airport that are wondering what are they supposed to do,” Mr. McCarthy said. “Our only focus should be on them.”
The resolutions also stand little chance with Democrats in the majority in both the House and Senate.
But House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican, told The Washington Times Tuesday that he thinks the measures will gain steam, even among some Democrats.
“I think we’re looking for a win,” Mr. Biggs said. “I think it’s possible that we could get enough Democrats to come over with regard to [the impeachment of] Blinken, for instance. And I do believe that with a unified voice, outside one or two members of the Republican conference, you have a unified voice on the resignations as well.”
“They’re angry,” he said, speaking of his House colleagues. “And so we’re providing an outlet for them. And hopefully, we can get a win.”