ICYMI: Sullivan Reacts to Tense Afghanistan Hearing with General Milley, Secretary Austin
“These are fundamental falsehoods, life and death deceptions” coming out of the White House
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), spoke with Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Primetime last night and Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network this morning regarding the senator’s tense exchanges in a SASC hearing with General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the total lack of accountability within the Biden administration for the botched withdrawal of U.S. forces and citizens from Afghanistan.
In the hearing, General Milley conceded that the withdrawal was a “strategic failure.”
Transcript for Fox News Primetime
KILMEADE: Here now is Alaska’s senator, still in the military, Dan Sullivan himself, who took part in the hearings and was quite incensed and on point. Senator, what was your takeaway today?
SULLIVAN: Well, look, Brian, you summed it up really well. There’s two main takeaways here. First of all, this foreign policy fiasco is solely the responsibility of one person, Joe Biden. He was told by his generals, what would happen if he removed the troops that were in Afghanistan and that came to pass and you just show that.
The second one is that the president has not been leveling with the American people at all, during this fiasco. We went through a number of things where I pressed the witnesses today on things that the president had said. You mentioned a number of them. Would - did his - the president said that his generals recommended that there should be no forces in Afghanistan. That was not true. This president said that Al Qaeda was gone from Afghanistan. That was not true. The president said that, our military would stay until all Americans were out of the country. That was not true.
And Brian, this is the big one. The president continues to say this fiasco was an extraordinary success. I asked General Milley that, General Milley in the hearing today called it a strategic failure. So, look, these lies, these are not some kinds of minor misstatements. These were huge fabrications at the heart of this foreign policy fiasco. Life and death deceptions that we finally were confirming in the hearing today.
KILMEADE: Senator, you couldn’t have known because you were busy. But Jen Psaki was asked who were the generals that advised the president to pull out since he said he got both reports from both sides. She could not name one. And the other story was General Milley himself. He was chronicled in a few books saying that he wanted to keep troops there. He thought it was a bad move to leave.
But he also - you asked him about his call with his counterpart in China. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SULLIVAN: General Milley, do you think if the Chinese Communist Party decided to invade Taiwan with their military leadership call and give you a heads up? You honestly think that?
MILLEY: I know I’d call him and ask him.
SULLIVAN: No, I’m asking—
MILLEY: I would call him and ask him outright.
SULLIVAN: Do you think he’d give you a heads up?
MILLEY: I think—
SULLIVAN: On the invasion of Taiwan,
MILLEY: I think an invasion of Taiwan would be a fairly obvious thing to pick up on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: Senator, he didn’t answer your question. What was your question based on?
SULLIVAN: Well, it gets an obvious point, right. And I made it clear in the hearing, there’s no way that a Chinese PLA leader would do that. Xi Jinping would have him shot. If somehow, he gave American generals a heads up on an invasion of Taiwan. So, I was pressing this issue, because it’s a very important issue that was in the book. That’s been quoted in the papers that said that General Milley promise to actually do that. But as he also said in his testimony, there was absolutely no indication whatsoever that our former President Trump was going to start any war. So, I was pressing this issue because it’s a really important one.
Right now., the book says one thing that was in The Washington Post. General Milley says something else. But I think it’s really important as we’re going to continue to do oversight to get to the bottom of this. And also importantly, the bottom of the issues that were front and center in the hearing today on Afghanistan, and Joe Biden’s foreign policy fiasco and how he owns it.
KILMEADE: He crushed the credibility of America. Now we got to earn it back because of one man’s decision. That’s clear. Also, it’s just incomprehensible that General Milley would admit, cooperating with peril by Bob Woodward. Frankly, we did win this election with Michael Bender and I alone can fix it by Phil Rucker and another author.
Why is he as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff worried about Bob Woodward’s book sales? It makes no sense. That is unacceptable and inexcusable. But senator, I know, not only you as senator, you’re also serving in the military. And I know how passionate you are about this, because a lot of great men and women fought over there, and they deserved a better verdict. Thank you, senator.
Transcript for Fox Business Network
BARTIROMO: Joining me right now, Alaska Senator, Armed Services Committee member, Commerce Committee member, and Veteran’s Affairs Committee member, Senator Dan Sullivan. Thank you very much for being here. You were there yesterday. Tell us what your takeaways were?
SULLIVAN: The two big takeaways are—first is Joe Biden owns this foreign policy fiasco. As you just saw there, his generals not only said to keep a small force there but they predicted what would actually happen if you didn't. He owns this solely.
The second issue is that it's clear that he's not been leveling with the American people on some of the most critical issues involved in Afghanistan. You know, as you just showed there, he said that his commanders did not tell him to keep troops there. That was not true. He said that Al-Qaeda was gone from Afghanistan. We learned yesterday that that was not true. He said that if he was going to keep the military in Afghanistan until all Americans were out/ That turned out not to be true. Here’s the big one Maria: He continues to say that the botched withdrawal was “an extraordinary success.” Yesterday, General Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said it was “a strategic failure.”
These are not some kind of small or minor misstatements the President has been making to the American people. These are fundamental falsehoods, life and death deceptions, and all of that came out in the hearing yesterday.
BARTIROMO: Senator, how much longer are the American people supposed to keep hearing all of these lies out of the leader of the free world, the Commander in Chief? He says nobody told him to keep troops there. He told us that there's no crisis at the border. He told us that the 18 states that have come up with new voting laws, they are Jim Crow laws. He told us the spending package is going to cost zero. Where is this going? Is there ever accountability or should we just say, “Oh, well, he's lying again?”
SULLIVAN: What I think was important about the hearing yesterday is not just Republicans in the Senate saying he's lying, it was his own generals in essence saying that what he's been saying is not true. That was a big area that I pressed the generals on yesterday and it’s important for the American people to actually see that. The other issue is, we are going to continue to press on these issues in terms of oversight. The more that we can show the falsehoods coming out of this White House, the more the American people are realizing that the president, on this issue, and as you say on many others, the border in particular, is simply not telling the truth.
BARTIROMO: Senator, do you want to see accountability? Your colleagues are calling on General Mark Milley and Secretary Austin to resign. Listen to this. Watch.
SEN. TOM COTTON: General Milley, why haven't you resigned?
MILLEY: It would be incredible act of political defiance for a commissioned officer to resign because my advice is not taken.
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY: General, I think you should resign. Secretary Austin, I think you should resign. I think this mission was a catastrophe. I think there's no other way to say it.
BARTIROMO: So, senator, will they resign?
SULLIVAN: Maria, I pressed the same issue yesterday in my questioning. As a matter of fact, I focused a lot on accountability. I asked Secretary Austin what it will take for someone, anyone in this administration to actually accept responsibility, accountability on this foreign policy fiasco. I asked the same question. Has anyone submitted letters of resignation to the president? My own view, as long as the president keeps calling it an “extraordinary success,” I don't think you are going to see any resignations, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do what we did yesterday, to continue to press on what the facts were and the falsehoods coming out of the White House, and importantly, this issue of accountability, which has made my constituents in Alaska and the American people so mad when they don't see any accountability.
BARTIROMO: What a smack in the face to our military to call a success a process that killed 13 of our servicemen. How can you even attempt to call it a success when 13 servicemen are dead?
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