House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday that President Joe Biden was turning his back on U.S. citizens trying to flee Afghanistan.
”With the very real prospect of thousands of Americans being stranded in Afghanistan on Sept. 1, the Biden administration is accepting the fact that they will leave Americans behind,” the California Republican said in a press briefing Wednesday. ”He turned his back on our own citizens stranded in Afghanistan.”
McCarthy said the image of Biden walking away from the lectern Tuesday without taking questions from reporters was becoming an image ”that defines his presidency.”
In his remarks Tuesday, the president said that he spoke with G-7 leaders and others to thank them for assisting with the evacuations from Kabul in the week since Taliban forces took over the capital city and country, forcing thousands of U.S. citizens, other foreign nationals and Afghan refugees to try to flee.
He said that as of Tuesday, more than 70,000 people had been evacuated since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on Aug. 14.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that 19,000 people had been removed in the last 24 hours.
Officials will not, however, estimate how many Americans remain in Afghanistan, or how many refugees who helped U.S. forces over the last 20 years, will be taken out of the country.
Biden said he and the other leaders agreed to coordinate to get the most people out of the country as possible.
After his remarks, Biden left the room without taking questions.
McCarthy, however, said that he fears that when the evacuation effort is completed, some will still be left behind, creating the largest ”hostage crisis” in history.
He said that Biden and congressional Democrats were more concerned with passing their large $5 trillion spending bills than getting people safely out of Afghanistan.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ”worked into late the night while [lawmakers] were here, but nothing to do with Afghanistan,” McCarthy said. ”Speaker Pelosi asked the president to make phone calls [to other legislators] not to pass any bills that would put more resources to get more Americans out of Afghanistan. It was to pass $5 trillion — not to debate it, but to deem it.”
Democrats in the House voted this week along party lines to adopt a $3.5 trillion budget resolution containing many items on the Democrats’ ”wish list,” including expanded healthcare and childcare, free college tuition, and several pieces of the Green New Deal aimed at combating climate change.