House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several lawmakers were not impressed by Representative Seth Moulton and Representative Peter Meijer’s trip to Afghanistan this week.
The two Congress members, who are also Iraq War veterans, announced on Tuesday that they flew to Afghanistan “to conduct oversight on the mission to evacuate Americans and our allies” and didn’t share the information prior to going “to minimize the risk and disruption to the people on the ground.”
“We had to know what was going on on the ground in Kabul,” Representative Meijer said. “We have not had information we need from the administration and realized that we were being lied to up and down, and we needed to see for ourselves.”
The House Speaker who declined to speak about the suicide attacks in Afghanistan while appearing in San Francisco for Women’s Equality Day doesn’t believe the two veterans made a good decision.
“We don’t want anyone to think this was a good idea. There’s real concern about members being in the region,” Pelosi, who sent lawmakers a letter on Tuesday discouraging travel to the country, said.
“Until they were airborne, it would not have been safe for them,” Pelosi said. “It’s not just about them to Afghanistan, going into the region, there’s a cost on our resources as well. This is deadly serious.”
“We are obviously not encouraging VIP visits to a very tense, dangerous, and dynamic situation at the airport and inside Kabul generally,” John Kirby, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, said.
Kirby said that the two Congressmen needed military protection and should have consulted with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin before going to the country.
The United States is working to remove soldiers, civilians, and Afghan allies by August 31, 2021.
During an interview on Wednesday, Representative Moulton told the Boston Globe that he requested to travel to Afghanistan multiple times but was denied.
“The opprobrium from the Defense Department, from the White House, from the State Department, is frankly laughable,” Representative Meijer said during an interview with Fox News on Wednesday.
The Representatives expressed that they were not interested in being supported by the military. The two did not fly to Afghanistan on a military plane, but they did fly back to the United States on a military plane.
“There’s a lot of work there to be done by the men and women in the military. I think that puts an extra burden on them,” Representative Gregory Meeks, Chairman of House Foreign Affairs, said. “I don’t think it helps necessarily for us to be going over there, and we’re trying to get people out of there.”
“I don’t think its right that they went, but I understand their frustration of why they would want to go,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. “We need the military, all the efforts used on bringing people back home.”
Representative Moulton says that he doesn’t care about what anyone in Washington is saying when he is “saving the lives of our allies.”
“I got several not just families but groups through the gate,” the Marine veteran said.
“It’s amazing that people think this is about politics when it’s about innocent lives and saving people who have given everything to us from torture and death. Every single person that we can get through the gates who is one of our allies, that is the difference between freedom and death,” Representative Moulton said.
“The scolding means nothing when we’re saving a few lives.”