Despite the clear collapse of the original understandings surrounding a deal to withdraw from Afghanistan that the Trump administration struck with the Taliban, former President Donald Trump is sticking right by his handling of Afghanistan-related issues. The withdrawal plan that Trump set up had been slated for this year — after the then-upcoming presidential inauguration — so carrying out the plan fell to Biden, who decided to go through with it in light of the seriousness of what he felt was the only other option: substantively ramping up combat. Now, the Taliban — which Trump and his administration essentially publicly uplifted around the time of signing that withdrawal deal — has taken over Afghanistan.
Trump seemed unfazed. During an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, he commented as follows:
‘When they say, oh he talked to the Taliban — you remember, they were criticizing me. They criticized me when I talked to Kim Jong Un. Well, President [Obama] told me it’s the single biggest problem we have. I said, have you ever called him, have you ever talked to him, [and he said], no I haven’t. He did try, but he was not receptive on the other side. But he was receptive with me. Now, we were supposed to have a war, and probably a very big nuclear war. I get along with [Kim] great, and I got along with him great. He doesn’t like Biden much, I’ll tell you that — but I got along with him great, and we had no problems.’
Check out those remarks below:
Trump's ranting to Hannity is absolutely bonkers. Get a load of this. pic.twitter.com/4bMPMM16k0
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 18, 2021
The U.S. was not “supposed to have a war” with North Korea, but stopping this imaginary, hypothetical war seems to nevertheless be a credit that Trump hopes to claim for himself. In reality, there’s no particular indication that the U.S. was especially close to war with North Korea — the country has simply maintained and continues to maintain a nuclear weapons arsenal. Following those meetings between Trump and the North Korean leader, the country still has that arsenal, so not much changed. Trump merely put on a show.
On Fox, Trump also more directly defended the deal that his administration struck with the Taliban, commenting as follows:
‘We had a great deal, we worked on it very hard. Mike Pompeo, a brilliant guy, and many others worked on it endlessly. Meetings with the Taliban, of course you have to meet with the Taliban. They’re the ones that you’re negotiating with. I spoke on numerous occasions to the head of the Taliban, and we had a very strong conversation. I told him upfront, I said, look, before we start, let me just tell you right now that if anything bad happens to Americans or anybody else, or if you ever come over to our land, we will hit you with a force that no country has ever been hit with before.’
Notably, what Trump says that he told the Taliban doesn’t appear to include direct acknowledgment of the then-potential for the group to take over Afghanistan. Trump said around the time of that deal-signing that he “really” believed that the Taliban “wants to do something to show we’re not all wasting time.” Although he added at the time that “if bad things happen, we’ll go back with a force like no one’s ever seen,” “bad things” is a ridiculously vague phrase that reveals Trump’s ineptitude. In essence, Trump appears to have been duped.
Check out Trump’s interview below: