Reporters asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki during Tuesday’s press briefing about top generals who testified that they opposed President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan.
ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran asked Psaki who had advised the president to withdraw from Afghanistan. During Tuesday’s testimony, both Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley stated that they had been in favor of leaving 2,500 troops on the ground.
Biden previously claimed that no senior military leader advised him to leave some troops behind. (RELATED: Gen. McKenzie Undercuts Biden Statements On Afghanistan Withdrawal)
“Who in his military advisers told him it would be fine to pull everybody out?” Moran asked during the briefing.
After generals testify that they opposed Pres. Biden’s decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, White House press sec. Jen Psaki tells @TerryMoran that “ultimately it is up to the commander-in-chief to make a decision.” https://t.co/WrXZhuQ3pZ pic.twitter.com/Duqp6nLxdf
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 28, 2021
“I’m not going to get into specific details of who recommended what,” the press secretary said. She added that “there were recommendations made by a range of his advisers” and Biden had “welcomed” the input.
“What Secretary Austin said today is that was not going to be a sustainable, over the long-term troop presence. We were always going to look at escalating the numbers, potentially going back to war with the Taliban, risking casualties,” Psaki continued. “That was not a decision the president was going to make.”
Psaki told Moran that “ultimately it is up to the commander-in-chief to make a decision.” (RELATED: Josh Hawley Grills Sec. Austin Over Afghanistan Withdrawal: ‘You Left Them Behind. Joe Biden Left Them Behind’)
Moran once again pressed Psaki on who told Biden that it was a good idea to pull all American troops out of Afghanistan.
“That’s not how these conversations go,” Psaki responded. “It’s a risk assessment for every president about what is in the interest of the United States of America, our military, and our national interests. And if we had kept 2,500 troops there, we would have increased the number of troops, we would have been at war with the Taliban, we would have had more U.S. casualties.”