‘Leaders Take Responsibility for Their Failures’: Hawley Threatens to Block Biden Nominees Until Blinken, Austin, Sullivan Resign


Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Tuesday slammed the President Joe Biden and his own administration over the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and vowed to block nominees for the State and Defense Departments until Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan resign over the withdrawal.

“We hold responsible those who bear the blame for the failure of the last month and all the months that proceeded it,” said Hawley in a speech on the Senate floor.

“For 20 years, our soldiers who fought in Afghanistan did what we sent them there to do. They went after Al Qaeda, killed Osama bin Laden and prevented terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base for attacking our homeland. They did their duty and they did it honorably,” he continued. “But now it’s abundantly clear President Biden’s not done his. President Biden turned an orderly evacuation into a disaster. That much is painfully clear.”

Hawley spelled out the actions which he labeled a “disaster”:

First, Joe Biden pulled out troops out and sent thousands back in. He failed to protect Americans still in the country. He failed to account for lethal American military equipment left behind. He failed to anticipate worsening conditions on the ground. He failed in his judgement that the Afghan security forces would hold their own when our own intelligence estimates said that they wouldn’t. He failed to anticipate a new offensive by the Taliban. He failed again and again and again until American blood at the Kabul airport paid the price for that failure. And then he celebrated it as an extraordinary success.

Hawley didn’t stop with Biden. “Joe Biden’s team is responsible too,” he said.

“Men like Secretary Austin, Secretary Blinken, and Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor,” he continued. “They overestimated the Afghan security forces’ willingness to hold the line and instead of planning for the worst, they planned for the best. Because of them, we have Americans stranded behind enemy lines and over 100,000 Afghan refugees arriving now to this country at this 11th hour without vetting or precautions. This was never necessary.”

Contrary to Hawley’s claim, Afghan refugees have been and are being vetted by the United States.

“It did not have to be this way and it shouldn’t have been,” said Hawley, referring to the withdrawal. “Joe Biden is responsible for today’s failure and now there must be accountability. Instead, the president’s team is even now coming to Capitol Hill and blaming others, shirking responsibility. That’s cowardly.”

“And I for one am not willing to look the other way. So let me be clear: I will not consent to the nomination of any nominee for the Department of Defense or for the Department of State until Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken and Jake Sullivan resign,” he continued. “Leaders take responsibility for their failures. And the failure of these individuals. The failure of this administration has cost Americans their lives and has left American civilians to the enemy. There must be accountability. And then there must be a new start.”

Hawley’s pledge occurred while Blinken was testifying in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing about the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Watch above, via CSPAN.

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