DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, discussed the aftermath of the Biden Administration’s exit from Afghanistan during a phone interview with The Iowa Torch on Tuesday.
He said that the Biden Administration leaving Americans behind is unacceptable regardless of the number.
“Well, if it’s 100, 200, 250, and you hear different figures, it violates a principle that we’ve had that we’re going not going to leave any American behind,” Grassley told The Iowa Torch during his weekly Capitol Hill Report that also included Mark Pitts with KCHA Radio in Charles City.
“When I think about not leaving any American behind. I think about my efforts, some 30 years ago, as a member of the POW/MIA Select Committee investigating the possibility that we left some people behind in Vietnam, not finding that we did after all that investigation. (It) reminds me of the thoroughness with which we go even to prove that we didn’t leave any behind at any particular time. So it gets back to what violating a principle leaving no American behind, and in this case, violates another principle, that we promised Afghans who helped our military efforts that they would be taken care of,” he added.
Grassley said that the Biden Administration leaving thousands of Afghans who helped the United States shows President Joe Biden’s “poor leadership.”
“It’s very concerning to me, and very concerning to a lot of people. Just think of the strong statements made by some of the parents of the 13 people that died over there, the last deaths we had in Afghanistan, about how resentful they are about how badly the closure of this war was handled by President Biden,” he said.
Grassley also responded to a question about a Washington Free Beacon report that the Biden Administration waived a mandate in June that required the Pentagon to provide a detailed report to Congress about the risks of leaving Afghanistan.
He said the only thing Congress can do is hold hearings. Something, he told The Iowa Torch, that Republicans on the Senate Armed Services, Intelligence, and Foreign Relations committees are interested in doing.
“The commander-in-chief power of the President of the United States is pretty much unitary with him. There’s not much Congress can do except provide the money and the declaration of war that goes with our power. And so what the president has done, even if it’s very poor judgment, you still have to say he’s got the power to do it under the Constitution. And our congressional oversight would tend to bring up the shortcomings and bad decision-making that took place,” Grassley added.
“So hopefully, presidents in the future are more cautious how they handle a like situation. And hopefully, there’s no like situation,” he said, noting that he hoped the hearings would shed light on the process to ensure similar decisions are not made in the future.
Ned Price, the spokesman for the U.S. State Department, tweeted on Monday, “The Taliban needs to meet its commitments and obligations in Afghanistan on freedom of travel, respecting basic rights of the people, upholding its commitments on counterterrorism, not carrying out reprisal violence against those who stayed, and forming an inclusive government.”
Grassley told The Iowa Torch he hopes the Taliban does that but does not have confidence that they will.
“Well, let’s hope for the benefit of the Afghans that have helped us and the 250 Americans or more that might be there that it’s a true interpretation, but it would be entirely different from the first control of the Taliban or what they’ve been doing to some extent since we said we were going to pull out,” he said. “So I hope that the State Department can rely on it, but I seriously have my doubts, and I would be very much surprised but gratified if that would happen.”
Listen to the interview below: