Biden Shuts Down Trump & GOP Haters During Monday Speech

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In a Monday speech, President Joe Biden insisted that he “stand[s] squarely behind” his choice to continue with the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, countering those — including prominent Republicans — who have criticized the unfolding withdrawal effort. The withdrawal was originally set in motion by the Trump administration via an early 2020 deal with the Taliban, and now, the Taliban — in the wake of that boost from the Trump team — has taken over Afghanistan amid the final stages of the U.S. withdrawal. The group has swarmed into the nation’s capital, Kabul, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the country in recent days.

Trump himself — whose administration struck a deal for a full withdrawal — has called on Biden to resign over what has unfolded in Afghanistan. Although Mike Pompeo, who served as Secretary of State in the Trump administration, has claimed that a hypothetical Trump administration would be conducting military operations against the Taliban in present circumstances, the conditions upon which the Trump team’s deal with the Taliban rested appear to have centered on the group remaining in opposition to terrorist groups like al Qaeda. That condition is — generally speaking — a different issue from the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

Notably, Biden said during his remarks on Monday that the U.S. was prepared to conduct counterterrorism missions in Afghanistan even without a permanent military presence in the country. More broadly, he also said as follows:

‘When I came into office, I inherited a deal that President Trump negotiated with the Taliban. Under his agreement, U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021 — just a little over three months after I took office. U.S. forces had already drawn down during the Trump administration from roughly 15,500 American forces to 2,500 troops in [the] country. And the Taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001. The choice I had to make, as your president, was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season… There was no agreement protecting our forces after May 1. There was no status quo of stability without American casualties after May 1.’

Biden pointedly added as follows:

‘I’m left again to ask of those who argue that we should stay [in Afghanistan]: How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war, when Afghan troops will not? How many more lives, American lives is it worth? How many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery? I’m clear on my answer. I will not repeat the mistakes we’ve made in the past.’

Watch some of Biden’s Monday remarks below:

Watch Biden’s full remarks below: