Former President Donald Trump ripped into the government Thursday for relying on the advice of “stupid people.”
Trump joined Fox News host Sean Hannity via phone for a wide-ranging interview, and he made it clear that he was not impressed with President Joe Biden’s handling of the troop drawdown in Afghanistan. (RELATED: ‘He Took A Question From Peter Doocy’: Marine Veteran Says Joe Biden Only Did One ‘Courageous Or Honest Thing’)
Hannity mentioned the fact that Trump had campaigned in 2016 on getting American troops out of Afghanistan — and noted that he had slowed down his withdrawal plans as circumstances dictated.
“You ran on the idea that there would be an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan. But you decided to slow the withdrawal down in 2017,” Hannity said, sharing a clip of Trump discussing the matter in 2017.
“The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists,” Trump said. “A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11th.”
Hannity went on to say that Trump had eventually gotten to the point where he felt that, with U.S. air support, the Afghan Security Forces would be strong enough to keep the Taliban from taking over everything.
“I had it set up so perfectly. It was done so well. We were all ready, everything was good, we had the Taliban totally frozen in place, they weren’t going to move, and that is when I made my move,” Trump said. “But you know, we rely on stupid people like H.R. McMaster, John Bolton, some of these people were really stupid people. I mean, Bolton was involved in getting us in with Bush in the Middle East, but you rely on people, fortunately, whether it is Fauci or them — I don’t listen to other people if I think they have bad ideas, but we have a lot of very bad and very — the only way I can think, not very smart people giving advice.”
Trump went on to bring up former Defense Secretary James Mattis, saying that they had disagreed on how much the Americans could rely on the Afghan military.
“Now I told you numerous times, the Afghan military was paid a lot of money by the United States — those soldiers were among the highest paid soldiers. They weren’t fighting for their country. I remember when Mattis was saying, ‘Sir, they are fighting for their country.’ They were fighting because they got paid a lot of money,” Trump continued. “As soon as that spigot was turned off, they turned.”
Trump concluded by saying that if he had been the one to get American troops out of Afghanistan, he would have done so quickly and quietly.
“Nobody would have even realized we had gone. Everybody would have been out. The equipment would have been taken out. I would have blown up all of the bases. We would have kept Bagram, and we would have had some pretty talented people there, but we would have kept it because of China and Iran — and Afghanistan, to a much lesser extent, and literally nobody would have even known,” he said. “They’d go back to their — whatever they do and let them fight each other. We should have never been there and never been in the Middle East in the first place.”