House Republican says criticism of Afghanistan trip ‘frankly laughable’
Rep. Peter Meijer (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 Moulton (D-Mass.) traveled to Afghanistan on Tuesday to see conditions on the ground and push President Biden to extend his Aug. 31 deadline for pulling all U.S. forces from the country.
The trip has drawn widespread criticism not only from the Biden administration but also from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (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 Meeks (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.
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.”
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