Donald Trump’s hearty endorsement of pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by September has undercut efforts by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and other key Republicans to question President Biden’s strategy.It's not funny how those with no skin in the game always call for dragging out a quagmire and wish to continue to pour lives, limbs, hopes and dreams into a failed geo-political mistake. President Trump saw these ridiculous wastes as exactly that and ordered them to end. He and I thought he'd have another full term in office to hammer home the idea that Pax America no longer extends over the thugs ruling in desolate hellholes under their thuggish leadership. No more propping up one bunch of terrorists over another bunch of terrorists especially when they all hold the most profound ideas in common.
More broadly, the former president has focused the nation’s attention on China as the United States’s premier national security concern, putting pressure on Senate Republicans to support legislation Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to move to respond to Beijing’s growing influence and power.
McConnell is the most powerful Republican leader in Washington, but he doesn’t have the same unrivaled platform that he did when he was in the same position — head of the minority opposition in Washington — at the start of former President Obama’s tenure.
McConnell has seized on Biden’s announcement that he will withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan as a prime example of him talking like a centrist but governing from the left.
The GOP leader has warned that Biden has ordered “a hasty total withdrawal from Afghanistan” that will “leave coalition partners and vulnerable Afghans high and dry.”
Al Cross, a professor of journalism at the University of Kentucky and a longtime commentator on Kentucky politics, said McConnell is trying to set it up so that he can pounce on Biden if militant extremists seize full control of Afghanistan or if terrorist groups use it again as a base to launch attacks against the United States.
“He’s setting a marker to say ‘I told you so’ when Afghanistan goes to hell,” he said. “He makes these little down payments on political investments that may turn out or may not.”
Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.), McConnell’s potential successor, says Biden’s decision is “a big mistake” and “not the right move.”
“I know there’s a lot of pressure from the left in this country to get out of Afghanistan, but we have a lot invested there over a long period of time and the one thing we don’t want to do is create the conditions there that are favorable for terrorist organizations to train and prepare and plan attacks against the United States,” he said in an interview with podcast host David Brody.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), another member of McConnell’s leadership circle who could be Senate GOP leader someday, has also criticized Biden’s decision, warning Afghanistan’s security situation could deteriorate quickly.
“It’s not very encouraging. It sounds to me like the Taliban has the upper hand and the challenge is going to be to continue to remember the lesson of 9/11, that a power vacuum gets filled by the bad guys,” he said after senators received a briefing on Biden’s decision. “It’s hard to know exactly what the plan is. It sounds like it’s going to be, ‘Hope for the best.’ ”
But Trump has undercut the messaging from Senate Republican leaders, opening the way for other Republicans to express support for Biden’s decision or at least publicly question the wisdom of keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond the fall.
I would have thought a political reporter would understand that the man with the coat tails in the Republican party is not the dismal naysaying losers in the GOP Congressional leadership. It resides as it has for the last 4 years with President Trump who still won more votes than any other candidate in history.