Politics

Josh Hawley Grills Sec. Austin Over Afghanistan Withdrawal: ‘You Left Them Behind. Joe Biden Left Them Behind’

Screen Shot_Twitter_@mrctv_Josh Hawley_Sec. Lloyd Austin

Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley grilled Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during Tuesday’s Senate hearing into President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan with Austin, Gen. Mark Milley and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.

At the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Hawley slammed Austin for saying there are Americans still in Afghanistan but not specifically saying they were left behind.

“Secretary Austin, I have to take issue with something you just said. I know this is an administration talking point, I heard it out of the mouth of the press secretary and others. We are not leaving Americans behind. That was your quote just a minute ago. With all due respect sir, you have left, past tense, Americans behind. We have no presence any longer in Afghanistan. There are hundreds of Americans, and not just Americans generally, civilians you left behind against the President’s explicit commitment not to leave until all American citizens were out and to safety,” Hawley said.

“That is not what happened. And now we have people who are desperately, frantically, trying to get out of this country, coming to me, coming to members of this committee asking for help. They can’t get that help. They’re stuck behind enemy lines. So please don’t tell me that we’re not leaving Americans behind. You left them behind. Joe Biden left them behind and, frankly, it was a disgrace,” Hawley added.

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Republican Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, the chairman of the committee, sent out a press release with the dates of the hearings and released separate statements. The Daily Caller first reported that a group of Senate Republicans sent a letter to Reed demanding that he hold hearings on Biden’s withdrawal and asking for sworn testimony from Austin, Milley, McKenzie and Gen. Scott Miller. (RELATED: Senate Armed Services Committee To Hold Open Hearings With Secretary Austin, Gen. Milley And Gen. McKenzie)

The letter was signed by nine other Republicans. In it, they called on Reed to schedule the committee hearings so they can examine Biden and his administration’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan after 13 U.S. service members were killed in a terror attack at the Kabul airport. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republicans Demand Hearings On Afghanistan, Sworn Testimony From Secretary Lloyd Austin, General Mark Milley)

A number of Republicans have called on the resignation of Biden and his senior military officials. The House Freedom Caucus held a press conference in late August calling for the resignations of Biden, Austin and Milley. In the Senate, both Hawley and Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn have called on Biden to resign. Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has called for Biden to be impeached.