Three days before the deadly twin bombings at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) called on President Joe Biden to resign for threatening the lives of American troops and “our integrity on the world stage” in what he called a “botched withdrawal.”
Calling on the leader of the free world to resign his office immediately weighs heavy on my heart, but this must happen to restore American’s safety both at home & abroad, our honor, & faith in the Chief Executive to faithfully execute the duties of the Presidency.
Statement ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/ilyEUKrZcN
— Congressman Byron Donalds (@RepDonaldsPress) August 23, 2021
Just hours after more than 100 people, including 13 U.S. service members, lost their lives to suicide bombers near the Abbey Gate and the Baron Hotel on Thursday in the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in a decade, Donalds called again for Biden to step down from the presidency. Since the attack, the list of elected Republicans demanding Biden’s resignation has grown to 26.
“With respect to Kamala Harris — we won’t agree politically. But when you have a commander-in-chief whose credibility has been damaged to such a degree, you need a new commander in chief. It’s just that simple,” he told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Thursday.
Despite prior intelligence of looming terror attacks at the Kabul airport, suicide bombers were able to sneak through and claim the lives of, not only U.S. troops, but also Afghans and U.S. citizens attempting to escape from the country before Biden’s withdrawal deadline of August 31. Biden has refused to change the deadline against the advice of foreign allies, and risks leaving behind Americans and Afghans who helped U.S. troops during the 20-year Afghan War.
“President Biden has largely been an ideologue when it comes to Afghanistan. His position on that country and that conflict has been consistent for what it seems like to be more than a decade. He’s always wanted withdrawal no matter what the situation is,” Donalds said. “And the disastrous thing for our country has been — he’s not looked at the actual evidence on the ground and the way things have evolved on the ground and made the necessary adjustments as commander-in-chief.”
“With respect to the intelligence with the ISIS attack, they’ve been talking about that for a couple of days. And so for the president to not surge troops into the theater knowing what the intel was saying, to me, is unconscionable,” he continued. “It falls directly in his lap and he can’t blame anybody for that — that is his decision and his decision alone. You wanted to be commander-in-chief, now you are — and if the buck stops with you, all of the responsibility belongs on Joe Biden.”
Donalds said Biden never should have targeted a specific withdrawal date, considering the danger on the ground and the amount of people who stand to be stranded in a country hostile to Americans and American allies. Many other elected Republicans have echoed the same sentiment. U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) even sent a letter to Biden saying “it must be clear that we will not withdraw American forces from Afghanistan until that mission is complete.”
“I think leaving Bagram was an awful idea,” he said, referring to Biden’s decision to pull U.S. troops from the Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night without telling the base’s new Afghan commander.
Donalds also said “enough people aren’t talking about” the fact that Biden abandoned the U.S. embassy in Kabul, even though “we spent hundreds of millions of dollars building an embassy which is basically a bunker and easily defendable.”
Biden has struggled to answer questions from reporters about Afghanistan, including during his speech Thursday when he addressed the Kabul twin suicide bombings. At one point, he lowered his head and clutched his folder in response to questions from Fox News reporter Peter Doocy. He also refused again Friday to take questions from reporters about Afghanistan during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
“His credibility has been destroyed in front of everybody, and it’s been destroyed by his own doing,” he said. “These are his own decisions. He’s made them, and unfortunately the country has to lie with it — not just Joe Biden.”