Sen. Tom Cotton Tuesday accused President Joe Biden of wanting to “turn the page” on Afghanistan and get it out of the news so the administrations and Democrats can focus on the “reckless” $3.5 trillion spending bill instead, and he’s concerned about what kind of concessions the administration will give to the Taliban to make that happen.
“They want this out of the news,” the Arkansas Republican said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “I worry they will grant those concessions because they want Afghanistan off the front pages and out of the minds of the American people. As long as our fellow Americans are stranded there we are not going to forget this catastrophe.”
Members of Congress are “working on trying to get people out across the borders or on flights out of Afghanistan or some of the outlying cities,” Cotton also said. “We are not going to forget our fellow Americans who are left behind in Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, the State Department is trying to take credit for getting Americans out of Afghanistan, particularly the mother and her children who came out of the country on Monday, but Cotton said he wants to commend Cory Mills, a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran who is working on getting Americans and Afghan allies out of the country, along with several other veterans who have been sacrificing time and money over the last three weeks.
“It’s not surprising that the State Department higher-ups come rushing in any time they see a good news story and try to take credit of it,” said Cotton. “Really, nothing but bad news about Joe Biden and Tony Blinken’s State Department continues to be the case. We have, perhaps, hundreds of Americans effectively held hostage by the Taliban inside of Afghanistan.”
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are angry that Americans were left behind, said Cotton, noting that Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and his team “have been working on this issue very hard. We worked with them as well, trying to get these Americans out of Afghanistan.”
Cotton also said he’s concerned about the vetting process that is going on with Afghan refugees, and pointed out that if the administration was planning for all contingencies, it wouldn’t have had to set up a tent city at a German airbase in a couple of days to handle the crowds of Afghans.
“We have had many reports of Afghans who have failed our vetting processes, as meager as those are,” said Cotton. “Some have even come to America and been sent elsewhere. In many cases in the early days after the fall of Kabul, Afghans who had no particular ties to our military were able to get on planes and get out of the country. In many cases, there is no way to vet them because there are no sources on the ground in Afghanistan anymore. They can run a name or supposed name or maybe some fingerprints through incomplete databases and if it doesn’t come back with a hit you must be good to go.”