Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on Sunday blamed President Joe Biden for the “haphazard withdrawal” from Afghanistan, saying he “knew this was coming” and “messed it up.”
In an interview on ABC News’ "This Week," Ernst also stressed the need for a full vetting of refugees.
“We want to welcome those that are fully vetted. That is extremely important that we make sure they are vetted before they touch down on American soil. And that is why it is so important that we continue working with these third country nations, providing them whatever support we can within those countries. And this is where President Biden, unfortunately, has really… messed it up.”
Ernst said Biden missed a chance to work with the international community in the effort.
“With our international community, with his haphazard withdrawal — if we had been working with those allies, those partner countries, this would have been a lot easier,” she said.
“He knew this day was coming and yet again, was very slow to respond to the needs of not only our American citizens, by pulling those troops out before we had them safely out of Afghanistan, but he has also jeopardized those that were partners to us through an extended war on terror.”
Ernst accused the State Department of having “dragged its feet” on vetting Afghans who have partnered with the United States.
“We have been on the administration for months now to be working on the vetting process, to make sure we're working with those interpreters to get them safely out of the country,” she said. The State Department, it has dragged its feet. It has moved so slowly. And now we're at a point where these Afghan interpreters, other partners are in deep jeopardy with the Taliban because they weren't able to get their vetting done on time.”
“It is important that we continue pressing on with this,” she added. “If there are Afghans that need to be evacuated that aren't fully vetted, we do have third country partners that are working with us in this effort.”
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