DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, said that President Joe Biden’s remarks after Thursday’s terrorist attacks that killed 13 U.S. service members were “a sad answer to a very, very sad day for our country.”
The freshman congresswoman representing Iowa’s 1st Congressional District spoke to The Iowa Torch by phone on Friday morning.
“I am absolutely heartbroken by the loss of 13 U.S. service members yesterday. More than 60 Afghans died, including children. And this did not have to happen. And I think the President skirted some of that responsibility in his remarks yesterday. And I wanted to see more of an acknowledgment that we lost men and women overseas yesterday, and this is a direct result of President Biden’s reckless and thoughtless withdrawal from Afghanistan.” Hinson said.
She stated that the crisis in Afghanistan was preventable.
“I’ve been in both classified and unclassified briefings about this. And we know that this was preventable, but the President failed. And he failed to listen to his top military generals and the intelligence folks that painted the grim picture. They knew it was coming. And we’ve seen that play out. And it’s absolutely, again; it was just an incredibly sad day for our country and a very sad response from our president,” Hinson explained.
She said that President Biden’s decision to stick to the August 31 deadline is a mistake.
“It’s a mistake. I can tell you that, you know, a number of my colleagues have served in Afghanistan. We’re working together to try to get as many Americans out as we can. But there’s a general consensus on both sides of the aisle that is absolutely a mistake,” Hinson stated.
She said Congress needs answers from the Biden Administration about the withdrawal timeline, but the top priority is helping get every American and Afghan partners out safely.
She said his remarks left questions unanswered.
“I was really disheartened to see how dismissive he was in his comments about, you know, getting people out. He didn’t even address the military equipment that the Taliban now had. We’re seeing pictures of Taliban with our Black Hawks,” Hinson said.
She also said that Congress would have to consider the new terrorist threat President Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal has created.
“The resurgence of the insurgency there is a direct result of this hasty withdrawal,” Hinson said.
She said the Biden Administration needs to listen to and follow the advice of those who are on the ground in Afghanistan.
“They are the experts in this situation and, again, we continue to get mixed messages,” Hinson said.
She also endorsed having a congressional investigation.
“There needs to be accountability. Secretary Blinken, Secretary Mayorkas, and Secretary Austin all need to answer questions about what should happen next. And they need to do it in an honest and transparent way. That’s something we haven’t had from this administration,” Hinson stated.
“The State Department is dragging their feet. Again, they’re sending mixed messages that just adds to the chaos. When we’re hearing, for example, we need answers to the question about if they handed over names of Americans and Afghanis to the Taliban. We know we can’t trust the Taliban. And it’s like a death sentence that’s unconscionable in how they executed that mission. So not only do we have the loss of 13 U.S. service members, but we also have eroded trust. We have a loss of respect on the global stage,” she added.
Hinson said that the national security threat this creates is one of her top concerns in the soon-to-be aftermath of the Afghanistan evacuation.
“We have a national security crisis on our hands, not just with what’s happening in Afghanistan, but what’s happening at our southern border,” she said. “We know people on the terror watchlist have come across our southern border, that’s just the ones that have been caught, and now you’ve got ISIS, Al Qaeda, and these other terrorist groups, insurgent groups that are potentially going to exploit a weakness at our southern border,” she said.