Sen. Mitt Romney had harsh words for both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump for the chaotic and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan that’s currently unfolding.
“This is the result of very ineffective decisions, terrible decisions made by the prior administration and by the current administration. This did not have to happen. It was preventable,” Romney said during a Sunday guest slot on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Thirteen American service members, including 31-year-old Taylor Hoover of Utah, were killed last week in a suicide attack outside the Kabul airport.
Biden said last week he was sticking to the Aug. 31 deadline for pulling U.S. troops out of the country. Critics worry that could lead to American citizens and many of the Afghans who assisted American forces during the 20-year war being left behind to face the new Taliban-led government.
Romney blamed the Trump administration for negotiating the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Trump had set a May 31 deadline for U.S. forces to leave the country, a deal his administration struck with the Taliban without involving the Afghan government. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo negotiated the release of 5,000 Taliban militants from prison.
Romney also criticized Biden’s seeming insistence on adhering to the Aug. 31 deadline for pulling out of the country.
“You have to ask what’s the action we could take at the very last minute which is most likely to get Americans and most of our friends out of Afghanistan,” Romney said.
Romney said he understood the desire to end American involvement in a conflict that has lasted nearly two decades, but he fears that decision will lead to unintended circumstances for the U.S. and the rest of the world.
“The reason we were in Afghanistan was to keep another 9/11 from happening. Now we pull out and the Taliban is much stronger than they were before,” Romney said. “These forces of hate that consider America the ‘Great Satan’ are still out there. They’re still fighting us. The war is not over. The decision to pull our military out of Afghanistan puts us in greater danger. We’re in a weaker position.”