WATCH: Combat vet rep calls out lawmakers 'claiming ignorance' of troops in Africa 

Purple Heart recipient Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) has called out fellow lawmakers who claimed to not know U.S. troops were operating in Africa.  

“For anybody claiming ignorance that something was going on in Africa — we have an entire, African Command, that exists — their sole purpose is the entire continent of Africa, so people shouldn’t be naïve to the fact that there are ... operations going on over there on a constant basis,” Mast, a former staff sergeant in the Army, told The Hill.

His GOP colleague Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) — a former Navy SEAL — takes issue with the "Monday morning quarterbacking” of pundits who questioned the handling of a mission where four U.S. special forces were killed in an ambush in Niger. 

“I’ve heard a lot of people Monday morning quarterbacking ... they have no idea what the hell they’re talking about. They really don’t. You’re talking about an area ... in the middle of Africa ... it’s very difficult to obtain intelligence,” Taylor said.

Mast explained that the special forces “expertise is becoming a part of an indigenous people, learning to speak the language, helping them become force multipliers, better themselves not just in terms of military capabilities, farming, medical capabilities, you name it — that’s what our special forces guys do, that’s what their training is and they do it all across the world.”

Taylor added that it’s “valid to argue about our footprint in Africa.” 

Watch the video above to hear the lawmakers in their own words.