Representative Peter Meijer said on Wednesday that it’s ‘laughable’ he would get criticism for secretly traveling to Afghanistan, claiming Joe Biden is trying to hide the reality of the situation from Americans.
‘The opprobrium from the Defense Department, from the White House, from the State Department is, frankly, laughable,’ the Republican congressman told Fox News of pushback over the secret trip from President Joe Biden’s administration.
‘Right now they have done everything they can to obstruct the situation, to deny this reality, and, frankly, to hide facts from the American people,’ Meijer, who represents Michigan’s 3rd district and Iraq War veteran, said.
‘I’ll be honest, I did not support the decision to end our operations on August 31st before I went,’ he continued. ‘After talking with commanders on the ground, I trusted their judgment. And I believed it. That is what I want to take back to my fellow members of Congress. Those are the stories that I want to tell that aren’t being told of the individuals on the ground who are committing some of the most heroic acts I have seen in my life.’
Meijer and Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts secretly flew to Kabul on Tuesday to observe the U.S. evacuation efforts.
Representative Peter Meijer, a Republican and Iraq War veteran, told Fox on Wednesday that it’s ‘laughable’ the Biden administration is criticizing him 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 an immense amount of stonewalling and deflection on the situation in Afghanistan – including evacuation efforts of Americans and Afghan allies
The trip came Biden’s team stonewalled facts on the ground, including offering unclear numbers of Americans and Afghans who still need to be evacuated, as well as claims American citizens were not having trouble getting to the airport while all reports on the ground asserted the contrary.
The Pentagon said it had to take ‘time away’ from helping Americans and Afghan allies in Afghanistan to protect the duo of bipartisan representatives.
Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby said during a Wednesday briefing that the Pentagon had not been made aware of the visit, and ‘we’re obviously not encouraging VIP visits.’
‘The secretary, I think, would have appreciated the opportunity to have had a conversation before the visit took place,’ Kirby said.
‘To say there wasn’t a need to alter the day’s flow, including the need to have protection for these members of Congress, that wouldn’t be a genuine thing for me to assert,’ he continued.
‘They certainly took time away from what we had been planning to do that day.’
Meijer told Fox’ Bret Baier on Wednesday that they did notify the appropriate individuals once they had arrived in Afghanistan, but assured they were not relying on the U.s. Military for any assistance during their quick stop in Kabul.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Wednesday the DoD had to take ‘time away’ from helping Americans and allies in Afghanistan to protect the duo of bipartisan representatives
Peter Meijer served in the U.S. Army and went on to do humanitarian work in Afghanistan
Seth Moulton served in the Marine Corps and went on to host a TV show in Iraq
‘Did you complicate things, congressman, by the two of you going in the tense and dynamic situation that the military is trying to deal with other things besides two congressmen trying to get a look at things?’ Baier asked.
‘Let me be very clear, Bret. We were not planning to go there and to be dependent on the U.S. Military. Our plan was entirely independent of that,’ he explained.
‘We did make ourselves known on arrival for situational awareness to the individuals who were there.’
Meijer added: ‘We did not fly in on U.S. Military aircraft.’
‘Our plan was not to be dependent on anything related to the U.S. Government,’ he reiterated. ‘And just the decision on behalf of the president, of the secretary of Defense, and the secretary of State to obfuscate here are more intended to distract from the underlying issues, from the chaos of the withdrawal than to really tell how we make sure we learn the right lessons, support the individuals on the ground today, and keep the promises we have made to American citizens and those who have loyally served us 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.
‘Any member that I have heard that might go, I explain to them that I don’t think they should,’ McCarthy said during a briefing. ‘I think it creates a greater risk. You’ve got enough Americans over there to be held hostage. They would make a point out of member of Congress.’
Pelosi said during her own remarks on the matter: ‘This is deadly serious. We do not want members to go.’
‘You need the approval of your committee chair in order to do that. And we have put out the word to committee chairs there ain’t going to be no planes or this or that for people going to the region,’ she continued.
Meijer serves on both the Committee on Homeland Security and Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Moulton, a Marine vet 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 the White House had no knowledge the lawmakers were making the journey and reiterated that their message is still: ‘Now is not the time to travel to Afghanistan.’