GOP senator calls for Biden’s defense, foreign policy team to resign

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Wednesday called for Biden administration officials to resign over the bungled U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan, marked by the Taliban’s quick return to power.

Hawley — a potential 2024 White House contender who initially voiced support in April for Biden’s decision to withdraw troops — said there should be a “full congressional inquiry” into how the administration appeared to both overestimate the Afghan government’s capability and underestimate the Taliban.

“This is the worst foreign policy debacle since Vietnam, due to Joe Biden. He has lost the confidence of the American people and the ability to lead. Biden’s entire defense and foreign policy team must resign,” Hawley tweeted. 

Hawley appears to be one of the first GOP senators to specifically call for resignations of Biden administration officials over the U.S. withdrawal, which sparked chaotic scenes as thousands of Afghans and Americans rushed to evacuate as the Taliban captured Kabul.

Asked which specific officials Hawley was calling on to resign, a Hawley spokesperson reiterated that it was Biden’s entire defense and foreign policy team.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has criticized Biden several times this week, but when questioned during a Fox News interview if Biden should be asking for resignations, he demurred.

“The president can decide who works for him. It was his decision. He owns it. It was a mistake of major, major proportions,” McConnell said. 

Republicans have launched fierce criticism against Biden over his handling of the Afghanistan exit strategy, including Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), who chairs the Senate GOP campaign arm. Scott recently floated the 25th Amendment, which allows a president to be removed involuntarily.

Other GOP senators are pushing for public hearings to probe the administration’s handling of the drawdown in Afghanistan after two decades.

Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent a letter to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who chairs the panel, asking for a public hearing with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

“We need to hear from Secretary Blinken directly, to understand why the State Department was so ill prepared for the contingencies unfolding before us and what it will take to get the State Department back on track,” they wrote. 

Menendez is one of four House or Senate chairmen who have said they will probe the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

The New Jersey Democrat is expected to investigate both the Trump administration’s negotiations with the Taliban and the Biden administration’s execution of the U.S. military drawdown. 

“Congress was told repeatedly that the Afghan Defense and Security Forces were up to the task, that it had the troops, equipment and willingness to fight. … The American and Afghan people clearly have not been told the truth about the ANDSF’s capacity and deserve answers,” Menendez said this week.

In addition to Menendez, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said his committee would hold hearings, and Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he would work with other committees to ask “tough but necessary questions.”

Across the Capitol, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) announced that he had invited Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to testify before his panel. 

“The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly changing and it is imperative that the administration provide the American people and Congress transparency about its Afghanistan strategy,” Meeks said. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told KPIX, a San Francisco TV station, that the House Foreign Affairs Committee would hold a hearing sometime next week with “the highest level officials in the Biden administration.”

“That will take place early next week; at least, it will begin then,” Pelosi said when asked about congressional oversight into the U.S. drawdown.

Meeks hasn’t announced when the hearing will take place. 

Tags Afghanistan withdrawal Antony Blinken Biden foreign policy Bob Menendez Gregory Meeks Jack Reed Joe Biden Josh Hawley Lloyd Austin Mark Warner Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Robert Menendez
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