Speaker Pelosi today criticized the two congressmen who secretly traveled to Kabul for the purposes of oversight of the evacuation at the airport. Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) took it upon themselves to see the situation on the ground and come back to offer an assessment.
The two Congressmen quickly came to the conclusion that extending the August 31 deadline would not matter, the operation is a dismal failure. Lives will be lost, people in Afghanistan desperate to get out will be left behind. There simply is not enough time to get them out now. Biden began the mass evacuation too late and then set an arbitrary deadline, first the tone-deaf one of September 11, then August 31. The Taliban is in charge now and is calling the shots, whether Biden is willing to admit it or not. We can all see for ourselves what is happening on the ground.
Nancy Pelosi took to her podium for a briefing with the press. She said she has not spoken with either Moulton or Meijer. Their trip was not a good idea, she said. She said she sent a memo to all House members warning them not to follow the example set by Moulton and Meijer, both Iraq War veterans.
The Speaker said she learned of their trip to Afghanistan shortly before it became public and sent a memo to all House members on Tuesday warning them against traveling to the region to avoid any efforts to follow the example of Moulton and Meijer, who are Iraq War veterans.
She noted that making their travel public before they were airborne “would not have been safe for them.”
Pelosi reiterated from her warning to House members against travel to Afghanistan and the surrounding region that any such trips would be an “opportunity cost” from the focus on evacuating Americans and Afghan allies.
“So this is deadly serious. We do not want members to go,” Pelosi said. “The point is that we didn’t want anybody to think this was a good idea and they should try to follow suit.”
She may not want other members to go but that may not be her call. Chad Pergram covers Congress for FNC. He’s a longtime reporter there. He tweeted this morning that “multiple sources” are telling him that a “cohort” of members are either planning to go to Kabul, too or intend to go to help evacuate people. He also tweeted that one member has already changed his/her mind at Pelosi’s behest. Did the member personally talk to Pelosi about the trip or did the member just decide not to go after Pelosi’s press briefing? That part is unclear.
B) The precise number of members traveling is unclear or how they will go.
Fox is told that at least one member intended to go and then reversed course at the Speaker’s behest.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) August 25, 2021
GOP FL Rep Mast on Afghanistan: I think you might see a trickle of some other members going to look at the situation.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) August 25, 2021
Pelosi rightly notes the congressmen didn’t go on an ordinary trip. What she admits is that she and some committee chairs didn’t have their normal say of if they could go or not. San Fran Nan doesn’t like to loosen her grip of control. These guys went rogue and there will likely be some kind of retaliation coming for them.
Pelosi stressed that typical congressional oversight missions overseas are authorized by relevant committee chairs so that such trips are adequately organized with resources to ensure members’ security. But she made clear that no delegation would get a green light to travel to Afghanistan anytime soon.
“This is not just, like, ‘I think I’m going to go to Afghanistan.’ You need the approval of your committee chair in order to do that. And we’ve put out the word to committee chairs, ‘There ain’t gonna be no planes or this or that for people going to the region or any facilitation,’” Pelosi said.
There is also the embarrassment caused to the Biden administration, as well as the Departments of State and Defense.
DoD and State were pissed that a couple of Congressmen made an unannounced visit to HKIA in Kabul because it didn’t give them a chance to set up some self-serving dog & pony show.
— Mike Glenn (@mrglenn) August 25, 2021
None of them want to let go of their grip on the narratives being put forth at daily briefings.
Past and current employees of the State Department are voicing criticism.
“It’s one of the most irresponsible things I’ve heard a lawmaker do,” one diplomat familiar with the matter told the Post. “It absolutely deserves admonishment.”
Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), who worked for the State Department before her election to Congress last year and is a current member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also criticized her colleagues’ trip.
“Whether it is Haiti or Afghanistan, taking up space in a disaster zone for your own ego helps no one,” Jacobs tweeted on Tuesday.
The last thing that the military needs right now at the Kabul airport is congress members showing up and getting in the way of the efforts on the ground. There will be plenty of time for analysis and oversight hearings later. For now, let’s get the Americans and their Afghan helpers out of the country. Because of Joe Biden’s incompetence, many will die and more will be taken as hostages. This is a crisis that was unimaginable just two weeks ago. Pelosi, Biden, and others have been exposed for their lies of how well things are going in Kabul. That is where the real anger from them is coming from.
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