Trump criticizes evacuation of Afghans, calls for prioritization of Americans

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE on Wednesday slammed the Biden administration over a photo showing more than 600 Afghan civilians crowded onto a U.S. Air Force plane Sunday, arguing that the aircraft “should have been full of Americans.” 

The photo, first obtained and shared by news outlet Defense One, showed Afghan civilians sitting shoulder to shoulder on a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III for evacuation from Kabul to Qatar hours after the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s capital city. 

Trump on Wednesday used his Save America PAC to share a CBS News tweet of the image, writing, “This plane should have been full of Americans.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

“America First!” he added. 

U.S. Central Command spokesperson Karen Roxberry confirmed Monday that the U.S. aircraft had transported a total of roughly 640 civilians, saying that the “unusually high number of passengers” was due to "a dynamic security environment that necessitated quick decision making by the crew, which ultimately ensured that these passengers were safely taken outside the country.” 

Trump’s criticism marks a shift from just two days before, when he called on the Biden administration to prioritize evacuating civilians over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“Can anyone even imagine taking out our Military before evacuating civilians and others who have been good to our Country and who should be allowed to seek refuge?” Trump questioned in a Monday statement. “In addition, these people left topflight and highly sophisticated equipment.” 

“Who can believe such incompetence?” he added. “Under my Administration, all civilians and equipment would have been removed.” 

Trump and his allies have in recent days used the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan to condemn President BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE’s rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. 

The day after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan following days of sweeping territorial gains, President Biden defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops, arguing that his hands were tied due to a deal Trump himself had negotiated with the Taliban, under which U.S. forces would be removed from the country by May 2021. 

Biden’s defense followed a Saturday statement from Trump in which he argued that Biden "ran out of Afghanistan instead of following the plan our Administration left for him—a plan that protected our people and our property, and ensured the Taliban would never dream of taking our Embassy or providing a base for new attacks against America.” 

The Biden administration has ramped up its efforts to evacuate U.S. diplomats and Afghan refugees, including applicants for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs). 

Anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 American citizens remained in Afghanistan as of Tuesday, Senate aides who spoke with Biden officials told NBC News and The Washington Post.