House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates Schiff: McCarthy 'will do whatever Trump tells him' if GOP wins back House House GOP campaign arm raises .8 million in third quarter MORE (R-Calif.) is calling for investigations into President BidenJoe BidenWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt MORE's handling of the crisis in Afghanistan, where the democratic government was toppled over the weekend by Taliban forces following the U.S. military withdrawal from the war-torn nation.
McCarthy told Punchbowl News late Sunday that Biden's decision this year to remove thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was a “mistake that will haunt us for decades" and pointed to the president's choice to highlight Sept. 11 of this year as a target date to have troops out of the region.
It was also a mistake, McCarthy said, to pull U.S. forces out “during the summer, when [the Taliban is] at their height.”
The top House Republican indicated he wants investigations probing what the American and allied intelligence community knew in the weeks and months leading up to the fall of the Afghan government.
Several other leading Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates McConnell: GOP should focus on future, not 'rehash' 2020 Hoyer: Democrats 'committed' to Oct. 31 timeline for Biden's agenda MORE (Ky.) and former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE, have blasted Biden's policy decisions.
As the situation in Afghanistan worsened by the hour over the weekend, Biden announced that the U.S. would send 1,000 more troops to the country to assist with evacuating U.S. personnel, some of whom have reportedly been trapped as Taliban fighters take control of the city of Kabul.
“Over our country’s 20 years at war in Afghanistan, America has sent its finest young men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion dollars, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment, and maintained their air force as part of the longest war in US history,” Biden said Saturday in a statement announcing the move. "One more year, or five more years, of US military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me."
The White House has separately shifted blame for the collapse of the Afghan government to Trump, with Biden saying the previous administration left the Taliban "in the strongest position militarily since 2001."
McCarthy, a Trump ally, was reportedly one of only two Republicans who spoke out during a briefing on Sunday with Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinTop Senate Armed Service Republican wants DOD to suspend vaccine mandate Trump criticizes media for treating Powell 'beautifully' in death Biden holds Trump's line when it comes to China MORE, Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenUS, Brazil discuss ways to slow migration Mayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden, Democrats dig into legislative specifics MORE and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark MilleyMark MilleyRepublicans would need a promotion to be 'paper tigers' We've left Afghanistan — but its consequences are just starting to arrive Key Iraq War strategist and former Army chief Raymond Odierno dies at 67 MORE.
"How does the rest of the world look at us?" the minority leader told Punchbowl. "They like that the president doesn’t tweet, but they don’t think America is very tough.”