Representative Peter Meijer said on Wednesday that it is “ridiculous” that he would face criticism for secretly traveling to Afghanistan, alleging that Joe Biden is trying to hide the reality of the situation from Americans.
“The insult to the Department of Defense, to the White House, to the State Department is, frankly, laughable,” the Republican congressman told Fox News of the reversal of President Joe Biden’s administration’s secret trip.
“Right now they have done everything they can to thwart the situation, deny this reality and frankly hide facts from the American people,” said Meijer, who represents Michigan’s 3rd District and Iraq War veteran.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t support the decision to end our operations on August 31 before I left,” he continued. “After speaking with commanders on the ground, I trusted their judgment. And I believed it. That is what I want to convey to my fellow members of Congress. Those are the stories I want to tell that aren’t told about the individuals on the ground committing some of the most heroic acts I’ve seen in my life.”
Meijer and Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts secretly flew to Kabul on Tuesday to observe U.S. evacuation efforts.
Representative Peter Meijer, a Republican and Iraq war veteran, told Fox on Wednesday that it is “ridiculous” that the Biden administration is criticizing him for traveling to Afghanistan to observe evacuation efforts.
Meijer and Democratic Representative Seth Moulton, also an Iraq War vet, secretly traveled to Kabul on Tuesday amid a huge amount of backlash and deflection from the situation in Afghanistan — including evacuation efforts by Americans and Afghan allies.
The trip came up against Biden’s team with facts on the ground, including listing unclear numbers of Americans and Afghans yet to be evacuated, as well as claims that U.S. citizens had no problems getting to the airport, while all reports on the ground claimed the contrary.
The Pentagon said it had to “take time” from helping Americans and Afghan allies in Afghanistan protect the duo of bipartisan representatives.
Defense Department press secretary John Kirby said at a briefing on Wednesday that the Pentagon had not been notified of the visit, and “clearly we do not encourage VIP visits.”
“I think the secretary would have appreciated having a chat before the visit,” Kirby said.
“To say there was no need to change the flow of the day, including the need to protect these members of Congress, would not be a sincere thing for me to claim,” he continued.
“They definitely took time away from what we planned to do that day.”
Meijer told Fox’s Bret Baier on Wednesday that they notified the appropriate individuals once they arrived in Afghanistan, but assured that they did not rely on the US military for assistance during their quick stop in Kabul.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Wednesday that the DoD needed to take “time” to help Americans and allies in Afghanistan protect the duo of bipartisan representatives.
Peter Meijer served in the US military and then did humanitarian work in Afghanistan
Seth Moulton served in the Marine Corps and then hosted a TV show in Iraq
“Have you complicated matters, Congressman, by putting the two of you in the tense and dynamic situation where the military is trying to do things differently than two congressmen trying to look at things?” asked Baier.
“Let me be very clear, Bret. We had no intention of going there and depending on the US military. Our plan was completely separate from that,” he explained.
‘We did make ourselves known on arrival for situational awareness among the people who were there.’
Meijer added: ‘We have not flown in with American military aircraft.’
“Our plan was not to be dependent on anything related to the US government,” he repeated. And only the decision on behalf of the President, the Defense Secretary and the Secretary of State to cloud here is more meant to divert attention from the underlying issues, from the chaos of the withdrawal than to really tell us how we’re taking care of it. that we are learning the right lessons, supporting the individuals on the ground today, and delivering on the promises we have made to American citizens and those who have served us loyally in Afghanistan.”
Moulton tweeted about his experience in Afghanistan on Tuesday
Meijer and Moulton’s decision to go to Afghanistan was criticized by both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“Every member I’ve heard could go, I explain to them that I don’t think they should,” McCarthy said at a briefing. “I think it carries a greater risk. You got enough Americans there to be held hostage. They would make a point of being a member of Congress.”
Pelosi said in her own comments on the case: “This is dead serious. We don’t want members to go.’
‘You need the approval of your committee chair for that. And we have sent word to the committee chairmen that there will be no planes or this or that for people going to the region,” she continued.
Meijer is a member of both the Committee on Internal Security and the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Moulton, a naval veterinarian who also served in the Iraq War, serves on the House Armed Services Committee and co-chaired the Future of Defense Task Force.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the White House was unaware that lawmakers were making the trip and reiterated that their message still reads, “Now is not the time to travel to Afghanistan.”