House Republican says criticism of Afghanistan trip 'frankly laughable'

Rep. Peter MeijerPeter MeijerThe 9 Republicans who voted to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (R-Mich.) says the criticism of his secret trip to Afghanistan this week was “frankly laughable.”

“The opprobrium from the Defense Department, from the White House, from the State Department is frankly laughable,” Meijer said during an interview on Fox News’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Wednesday.

Meijer and Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonHow lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation GOP lawmaker says he did not threaten US Embassy staff in Tajikistan House panel approves B boost for defense budget MORE (D-Mass.) traveled to Afghanistan on Tuesday to see conditions on the ground and push President BidenJoe BidenBiden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day Business lobby calls for administration to 'pump the brakes' on vaccine mandate Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping MORE to extend his Aug. 31 deadline for pulling all U.S. forces from the country.

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The trip has drawn widespread criticism not only from the Biden administration but also from House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight On The Money — Senate Democrats lay out their tax plans Democrats haggle as deal comes into focus Dem hopes for infrastructure vote hit brick wall MORE (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyJuan Williams: Trump is killing American democracy Republican spin on Biden is off the mark Cheney reveals GOP's Banks claimed he was Jan. 6 panel's ranking member MORE (R-Calif.), rank-and-file lawmakers and outside observers.

Democrats were particularly unsparing in their criticism of Moulton, with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US 'deeply alarmed' by reports of military takeover in Sudan US 'deeply alarmed' by reports of military takeover in Sudan Powell death leads to bipartisan outpouring of grief MORE (D-N.Y.) blasting the trip as unproductive and self-centered.

"To me, to go now is not to help. It's selfishness. It's to try to get some attention for yourself, and that doesn't help the people that we want to be helping right now," Meeks told reporters on Capitol Hill.

The two congressmen are currently in Doha, Qatar, Meijer said. Earlier in the day, they visited Al Udeid Air Base, where refugees are being held. 

The Michigan Republican said the trip was supposed to be “entirely independent” of the U.S. military.

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Meijer said the two did not fly into Afghanistan on a military plane but left on a military plane at the “encouragement of individuals who were there.” He added that they waited for a plane with open seats to ensure that they weren’t taking them away from anyone who needed them.

Meijer said he and Moulton took the trip because they “had to know” what was going on in Kabul.

“We had to know what was going on on the ground in Kabul,” Meijer said. “We have not had information we need from the administration and realized that we were being lied to up and down, and we needed to see for ourselves.”