The Senate and House testimony of President Joe Biden's top military brass this week has left a "very disturbing" contradiction between the words of the president and his generals, Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., warned to Newsmax.
After Biden told ABC News in a television interview he did not recall his military leaders advising leaving 2,500 troops to maintain stability in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, White House Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and Central Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie testified under oath to having done exactly that.
"What we saw was a contradiction in what Gen. Milley said, in what Secretary Austin said, and what the president said," Wittman, the vice ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, told Thursday's "Cortes & Pellegrino."
"Secretary Austin and Gen. Milley said that their recommendation to the president was to keep 2,500 troops there: The same recommendation that Gen. McKenzie and Gen. [Austin Scott] Miller had; yet when President Biden gave an interview, ... he said, 'No, my military leaders said no such thing that I can recall.'"
Wittman told co-host Jenn Pellegrino either the president is lying, or he lacks the cognitive ability to be commander in chief and coordinate the U.S. defense forces — both of which are "very disturbing."
"That tells us either one or two things: Either the president can't recall that – that in and of itself is very disturbing; or that he was not telling the truth – that also is very disturbing," Wittman said.
This boils down to exposing the fact the U.S. president ignored, or was incapable of receiving, the advice of his military leaders and merely sought to turn "a strategic decision" into "a political decision."
"You see that contradiction there which tells me that the president was making this a political decision, not a strategic decision," Wittman continued. "If it was a strategic decision, he would have followed the advice of his military leaders.
"I believe instead he followed the advice of Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken and made this a political decision, so on Sept. 11, they could have the presentation in their speech to say we're fully withdrawn from Afghanistan without regard to what would happen in the ensuing catastrophic chaos and the loss of lives of those 13 service members."
Wittman also lamented that House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., attempted to cover for the president's lie or malfeasance, suggesting Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., misquoted Biden from the ABC interview.
"Well Don Bacon, who asked the question and provided the quote, was 100% correct," Wittman said. "He took the quote directly from the interview where the president said that that was not the advice that was given to him by his military leaders, that he can recall. That quote is absolutely correct."
Smith attempted to conflate earlier ABC interview remarks with the quote presented in Wednesday's hearing, according to Wittman.
Ultimately, Biden was warned exactly what would happen if he pulled the final 2,500 troops out of Afghanistan unconditionally when he did, Wittman lamented.
"What Chairman Smith was alluding to was an earlier part of the conversation, but in context that was exactly correct, and that should lead us to all question the contradiction between what Gen. Milley, Secretary Austin, Gen. McKenzie, and Gen. Miller said," Wittman added.
"And that is: You have to leave 2,500 troops behind. If not, what you would see is exactly what unfolded. It's catastrophic chaos there, where we would have endangerment of U.S. service members. You'd have the government collapsed. You'd have the Afghan military disband. You'd see the Taliban in charge.
"All of those things happened. And essentially, the president was told beforehand that if you did what he did that this is what would be the outcome."
The result was all "absolutely unacceptable" after this breakdown, Wittman concluded.
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