Sullivan to Biden: Get Our Citizens Trapped in Afghanistan Out Now

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), spoke with Charles Payne on Fox News Channel this morning about the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan following the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal of U.S. forces and personnel. Sen. Sullivan called on President Biden to level with the American people about his responsibility for the debacle taking place in Afghanistan, to assure U.S. veterans of Afghanistan and their families that their sacrifices were not in vain, and to authorize the U.S. military to go get every American citizen currently trapped behind Taliban-controlled lines.


PAYNE: Republican Senator and Marine Corps Reserve Colonel Dan Sullivan sits on [the Senate Armed Services] Committee and he joins me now. Senator, thanks for joining us. It is difficult to know where to start. It has been such an unmitigated disaster, flawed planning and execution. Where do you think your committee will begin with this? 

SULLIVAN: The biggest thing is we’re seeing these incredible heart-wrenching, frustrating scenes in Afghanistan and then the president speaks to the American people and he’s disconnected from reality. He says the buck stops here with him and yet he blames everybody but himself. He says the buck stops here and he won't make the most important decision he needs to make now, which is to authorize his military to go rescue Americans held behind Taliban lines. And finally, Charles, he says the buck stops with him and yet he won't level with the American people that his actions clearly have made Afghanistan once again the epicenter for global terrorism. He needs to level with the people of the United States. 

PAYNE: Senator, it really is amazing. We have two press conferences where no questions were taken and then the one yesterday—it does feel like the spin doctors are in charge of putting these together. This is when we ultimately need a heart-to-heart. Mistakes are made. Even presidents make mistakes and we can deal with that, but don't spin, don’t make is so that you’re contradicting the folks that work with you minute to minute. That’s where we are. I think that is what’s adding fuel to our desperation, our frustration here in this country. What would you like to see from the president right now? I’m sure we will hear from him again soon. We’re awaiting a briefing at the Pentagon that will certainly contradict words that came out of his mouth less than 24 hours ago. What should the president do now? 

SULLIVAN: The president has one top priority. He’s got one responsibility, period, right now—that is to make sure we bring every American citizen who is in Afghanistan home safely. What this will require, Charles, is for the president to authorize our military to go get these citizens. They can make military plans. Would this be risky? Of course it would. But our military has trained to do these missions. Here’s the other thing he needs to do: You see at all of these press briefings this arbitrary August 31 deadline is still being floated out there as a possible date in which we would leave again. They need to get rid of this deadline. There should be no deadline for saving American citizens. 

PAYNE: Everything seems predicated on getting it done before September 11. I guess that’s another big event where he can say, “Hey, we are out, we did it.” I’ve got just a short period of time with you. We’re watching scenes of the Taliban driving American-made Humvees, using American-made machine guns. They’ve already tightened the circle around the airport. They’re beating people up. And we’ve got more soldiers there—150 percent more—than were there just two weeks ago. Should the American people be warned that there's going to be more fighting before this is totally solved? I don't think we’re going to be able to waltz in. You just made the point: It will be dangerous. Should we now be warned about the new reality: because this debacle was so bad, we’re actually going to lose more American soldiers? 

SULLIVAN: When you level with the American people, if the president does that, they understand the risks. But I guarantee you, every American out there, regardless of where you are politically, knows we need to go get our own citizens. That's what the United States military is for. And the final thing I would want the president to do, Charles, which he hasn't done yet, is to look in the camera, particularly with regard to Afghanistan veterans, their families—Gold Star families—and say this was not in vain. What your husband, or spouse did, your wife did, if you are an Afghan vet who has been injured, the sacrifices you made, you kept our country safe for 20 years. This wasn't in vain.

PAYNE: I agree one million percent. We love our vets. No one should feel bad about their service and their patriotism. Thank you very much. 

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