By Rebecca Shabad - 02/11/14 08:14 AM EST
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) on Tuesday said President Obama was “AWOL” in discussions about cuts to military spending, which the lawmaker suggested made the Benghazi compound more vulnerable to the 2012 attack.
McKeon, who serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has vigorously complained about sequester cuts to the Defense Department.
"What really takes up all my time right now is cuts to our defense, to our national security. ... The cuts that we’ve taken out of defense in the last couple years going forward now amount to $1 trillion. We’ve never had cuts so deep, so steep," he said on MSNBC.
“That’s what I gained out of the Benghazi report. We expected the military to be there 7/24, no matter how we cut back on their resources and their abilities. So we don’t have tankers ready to refuel fighter jets we don’t have Marines that have airlift to to get them immediately to any spot on the globe 7/24,” McKeon said on “Morning Joe."
“The commander-in-chief was basically AWOL in this situation," McKeon said. "The White House talks about a meeting they had on Sept. 10 to make sure everything was okay on the 11th."
“Why do we wait till the last minute to talk about what’s going to happen tomorrow?” McKeon asked.
After the attack, however, Democrats criticized House Republicans for voting to cut funding that would have bolstered security at U.S. embassies.
"We always cut back in defense after a war. This is the first time we’ve cut while we’re still at war," the Republican said.
McKeon announced last month he will retire at the end of the year after serving in Congress for 21 years.