In a statement Tuesday, former President Donald Trump accused Democrats and other supporters of President Joe Biden of a ''coverup'' of his mishandling of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the pullout of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
''Why is it that nobody talks about the horrible job being done by the Biden Administration on COVID-19, often referred to as the China Virus,'' Trump's statement said. ''Are they using the same coverup methods that they are using on the greatest embarrassment in the history of our country, the incompetent withdrawal from Afghanistan — leaving dead warriors, hostages, and $85 billion worth of the highest-grade military equipment behind?
''No Military event in our country has ever been so poorly handled. We could've left with dignity, honor, success, nobody killed, and our equipment. But we didn't!'' the statement continued.
The statement comes as the delta variant of COVID-19 is causing cases throughout the country to increase during the summer, with the seven-day rolling average going to almost 163,000 as of Sept. 2, a number last seen around Jan. 22, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of daily deaths averaged 1,114 on Sept. 3, the same number that occurred on March 9, according to the CDC.
The increases from the more contagious delta variant have caused many places to re-institute indoor mask mandates for adults, vaccinated or not, and stirred a debate on whether schoolchildren should be required to wear masks while attending classes.
According to an Aug. 28 Associated Press report, some 14 states have lawsuits pending on both sides of the question.
Meanwhile, the situation in Afghanistan remains tenuous as reports surface that Taliban forces are seeking out and executing people who helped the United States during the 20-year war there.
According to one BBC report, a former Afghan special forces soldier told the publication that the Taliban have gone back on its word to leave those people in peace.
"Since the Taliban have come to power, they haven't stopped killing," a former Afghan special forces soldier still in the country told the BBC. He said some of his former colleagues had been killed.
GOP lawmakers are saying that the Taliban, which announced a Cabinet for its new government on Tuesday, are holding six planes with people trying to get out of the country at an airport north of the capital city, Kabul, which they took over on Aug. 14, just before the last U.S. forces left on Aug. 31.
"In fact, we have six airplanes at (Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport) with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands," Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."
When asked about the planes and the Taliban holding them as ''hostages,'' White House press secretary Jen Psaki told members of the press on board Air Force One that it was just a Republica' talking point.
''That is not what we would characterize it as. Those were points — that was — those were comments made by a Republican congressman this weekend,'' Psaki said. ''So let me be very clear: We're in touch with American citizens. We're working to get them out. There are four who were able to depart overland.
''Our secretary of state is in Qatar right now working on a range of options, including getting flights up and operational and going. And what we have seen is that individuals who have documentation are able to depart, or that — that is what we have seen. But again, we don't have a great deal of understanding of every individual on these manifests.''
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