Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has demanded the resignation of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in the aftermath of the US withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of 13 members of the armed forces, and the abandonment of American citizens and green card holders in the country.
Hawley said that in light of the failures of the administration's leadership in leaving Afghanistan at the end of the 20 years' war, he would not vote to confirm any further nominations put forth by Biden until these resignations were tendered.
"So let me be clear," Hawley said, "I will not consent to the nomination of any nominee for the Department of Defense, or for the Department of State until Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken and Jake Sullivan resign. Leaders take responsibility for their failures and the failure of these individuals. The failure of this administration has cost Americans their lives, and has left American civilians to the enemy. There must be accountability. And then there must be a new start."
Hawley decried the administration for leaving "hundreds of American civilians left behind to the enemy," and said that Biden's claiming that the departure mission was "extraordinarily successful and extraordinary success" was unforgettable in light of the apparent failures.
"Really," Hawley said, "has the Commander-in-chief, in American American history, ever before uttered words like that? Has the Commander-in-chief ever celebrated as successful—successful—the abandonment of American civilians, to an enemy, the death of American soldiers? The terrorizing of American citizens and American allies?"
Hawley said that he hoped to never again hear "such shameful and disgraceful words from a President of the United States."
"This President is a disgrace," he said. "His behavior is disgraceful, he has dishonored this country with his shameful leadership in this crisis. And it is time for him to resign. And if he had the responsibility of leadership, he would resign for the crisis that he has himself led this nation into and the responsibility he bears for the lives that had been lost. And for the American citizens who are even now as I speak, trapped in Afghanistan, left to the enemy, because of his failures, and his shameful disgraceful leadership. Mr. President, even the shameful performance of America's leaders cannot disguise or cover over the heroism of America's soldiers."
Hawley read the names of those fallen US soldiers, and highlighted one of his own constituents who was killed in Afghanistan on August 26, Missourian Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz.
Hawley said that the sacrifices of those individuals "demand" that "Congress prioritize transparency and full accountability. And these sacrifices demand that we hold responsible those who bear the blame for the failure of the last month, and of all the months that preceded it."
And these sacrifices demand that we hold responsible those who bear the blame for the failure of the last month, and of all the months that preceded it," Hawley said.
The list of Biden's failures was extensive, Hawley said, noting that "he failed to protect Americans still in the country. He failed to account for lethal American military equipment he left behind. He failed to anticipate worsening conditions on the ground. He failed in his judgment that the Afghan security forces would hold their own when our own intelligence estimates said they wouldn't. He failed to anticipate a new offensive by the Taliban. He failed again and again and again until American blood at the Capitol airport paid the price for that failure, and then he celebrated it as an extraordinary success."
Speaking to Congress on Monday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated his understanding that no one believed the country would fall to the Taliban so quickly.
"Joe Biden's team is responsible to men like Secretary Austin Secretary Blinken, Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser. They overestimated the Afghan security forces willingness to hold the line. And instead of planning for the worst, they plan for the best," Hawley said.
"Because of them, we have Americans stranded behind enemy lines, and over 100,000 Afghan refugees arriving now to this country at this 11th hour without vetting or precautions. This was never necessary. It did not have to be this way. And it shouldn't have been. Joe Biden is responsible for today's failure. And now there must be accountability."