During an appearance on CNN over the weekend, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) broke with prominent Republicans — apparently including former President Donald Trump himself — on the issue of bringing certain Afghan refugees to the United States in connection to the withdrawal of the U.S. military presence from their home country. Trump flat-out lied in a recent statement about these refugees, claiming that “NO VETTING” was being conducted, and he also said that observers “can be sure the Taliban, who are now in complete control, didn’t allow the best and brightest to board these evacuation flights.” His central claims are nonsense. In contrast, Romney said he would welcome Afghan refugees to the United States.
The Afghan refugees under discussion include individuals who assisted U.S. troops during their time there. When the U.S. leaves, these Afghans could be vulnerable to retaliation from the Taliban or even other interests for the assistance that they provided to U.S. personnel. Romney pointedly commented as follows:
‘We have a moral responsibility, and in keeping with our national character, we welcome people into our country who seek asylum and those particularly who have fought alongside our troops and have enabled our troops to have a higher degree of safety than they would have had otherwise. But those are people to whom we owe a debt of gratitude, and we would welcome them into our country. Look, I think it’s one of the characteristics of our great nation, that we are a nation that welcomes with open arms our friends from around the world… I for one am very pleased that we’re going to have individuals that come to our country that can contribute to America and believe in the principles upon which our nation was founded.’
.@SenatorRomney: "We have a moral responsibility, and in keeping with our national character, we welcome people into our country who seek asylum and those particularly who have fought alongside our troops." pic.twitter.com/R83b3QqOhG
— The Hill (@thehill) August 30, 2021
Unsurprisingly, others who have ranted against efforts to evacuate certain non-Americans from Afghanistan include Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who said that her home state “shouldn’t welcome Afghan refugees while 1,000’s of Americans are stranded” — although, to be clear, evacuation efforts for Americans in Afghanistan have been ongoing for awhile, undercutting the idea that Americans are “stranded.” As for Trump, he recently rehashed familiarly racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric against Afghan individuals, ominously adding that observers can supposedly “only imagine how many thousands of terrorists have been airlifted out of Afghanistan and into neighborhoods around the world.” Trump is lying — there’s no “well, maybe he’s onto something…”. No, he’s just flat-out lying — in direct contradiction to his claims, vetting of these individuals being airlifted from Afghanistan is being undertaken, and there’s not been some takeover of the Afghanistan evacuation effort by terrorists!