ICYMI—Hagerty joins The Evening Edit to discuss Afghanistan

September 9, 2021

NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) Wednesday joined host Elizabeth MacDonald and guest Dr. Omar Hamada on The Evening Edit to discuss the Biden Administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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Partial Transcript

Hagerty on the Biden Administration’s failure in Afghanistan: “Liz, this is so frustrating. What’s happened in Afghanistan is we’ve created a cauldron of terror there. Now the Taliban control the city. Now the Taliban control the state. Everything there is going to be run through the Taliban, and [Secretary of State] Antony Blinken needs to acknowledge that. We’ve pledged to get every last American out, and we need to do everything in our power to do that. Yet, what’s happened is we’ve handed control over to a terrorist organization. They’re fulfilling their plan to put in place their own government. Again, they’ve targeted the same date, 9/11, which Joe Biden had targeted, so he could celebrate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, but with very different results. Now we’ve got an armed Taliban, much more dangerous than ever before. We’re in a worse position than we were 20 years ago. And we’ve got to address this now.”

Hagerty on allies’ response to Afghanistan withdrawal: “My reaction is exactly what I heard from our allies over in the UK and in Brussels this past weekend, when I was there meeting with our allies, talking to them about their frustration over the situation. They emphasized to me that what’s happened here is that we’ve allowed the calendar to drive our decisions rather than the conditions on the ground. We should’ve never evacuated our military before we had our American citizens out. What we’ve had now is loss of American lives. We may be looking at the biggest hostage crisis in modern history. And we’ve had now a diminishment of America’s reputation across the world.”

Hagerty on needing investigations into Afghanistan: “They don’t want to investigate this because it’s going to be enormously embarrassing to the Biden Administration. I mean what we will find out is that they’ve allowed domestic politics, they’ve put press releases ahead of conditions on the ground. And what they’ve really driven for is yet another messaging opportunity. You know, Joe Biden wanted to celebrate the fact that on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, he was the president that brought American troops home. Well, instead he’s precipitated the disaster of incredible proportion. Not only has he left Americans behind enemy lines, he’s left our allies behind enemy lines, too. He’s made it much more difficult for us to gain the confidence of our allies. And now he’s put China in prime position, as you mentioned. When we controlled Bagram [Air Base], we were a thorn in the CCP side [Chinese Communist Party]. Now Bagram is going to become a crown jewel in their Belt-and-Road Initiative”