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CNN’s Jake Tapper went after Trump-era U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley on Thursday for slamming President Joe Biden’s appeasement of the Taliban.
A day earlier, she’d responded to reports from the administration that its evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies was being restricted by rules set in place by the Taliban.
For instance, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the administration was working behind the scenes to “negotiate” an “exact timetable” for the evacuation.
Here’s how Haley responded:
To have our Generals say that they are depending on diplomacy with the Taliban is an unbelievable scenario. Negotiating with the Taliban is like dealing with the devil.
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) August 18, 2021
Speaking on CNN’s “New Day” the following morning, Tapper came after both Haley and other former Trump administration officials for what he claimed was an “attempt to memory hole” the Trump administration’s own negotiations.
“There is this attempt to memory hole the last four years under President Trump of an attempt to have a peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban. By the way, the Afghan government was excluded from those talks by the Trump administration,” he said.
“But there is this attempt by former Secretary Pompeo, Vice President Pence, Trump is all over the map on this, Nikki Haley, etc., and their supporters in Congress to pretend that there is something demonstrably different about what Biden did than what Trump would have done,” he added.
Listen to Tapper’s remarks below:
Just to clarify, at the time that the Trump administration was negotiating with the Taliban, the situation on the ground was drastically different.
Moreover, the notion that Biden has acted exactly as Trump would have acted is highly dubious given the facts.
The former president certainly wouldn’t have disbanded the Crisis Response Bureau that he himself had established to provide swift and safe evacuations of Americans out of crisis zones.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 19, 2021
Nor do many believe the president would be sitting around negotiating with the Taliban as it reportedly beats U.S. citizens and kills Afghan allies.
The widespread consensus — or at least among conservatives — is that Trump wouldn’t be talking right now — he’d be bombing.
Trump would be bombing the Taliban back to the stone ages.
— Chris Barron 🇺🇸 (@ChrisRBarron) August 17, 2021
Continuing the discussion, host John Berman then played a clip of Haley speaking in 2018 about the then-ongoing negotiations.
“The U.S. policy on Afghanistan is working. We could see dramatic changes in terms of what the U.S. policy has been doing. We are seeing that we’re closer to talks with the Taliban and the peace process than we’ve seen before,” she’d said at the time.
“We think peace is very important. We think the Taliban coming to the table is very important. And we think that the entire international community needs to support this process so that we can have peace,” she’d added.
This, according to Berman, proves that Haley is a hypocrite who’s OK with “dealing with the devil” when it’s on her terms, and that, according to Tapper, is the real issue.
“I don’t think that the Trump administration should be blamed for trying to come to a peace deal with the Taliban. … But the issue is not that they were trying to make peace with the Taliban. The issue is they are now pretending that the previous effort did not happen,” he said.
“There is an attempted memory hole that is just insulting to everyone, including people in the MAGA world who liked that about Trump, who a few months ago, a lot of these people attacking Biden today for the decision to withdraw, not for the inept exit that we’ve seen which is certainly deserving of criticism, but for criticizing him for the decision to withdraw,” he added.
It’s not clear who in the “MAGA world” is upset at Biden for withdrawing. The consensus has been that withdrawing was the right thing to do, but the current president screwed it up royally with his gross incompetence.
Please stop conflating two issues
1. The decision by Trump and Biden to withdraw from Afghanistan
2. How we conducted the withdrawal and left people behind
I support 1 but not 2
There was better way to do this
— Alex Plitsas 🇺🇸 (@alexplitsas) August 19, 2021
“Months ago [they] were faulting Biden for not abiding by the May 1st deadline and saying, oh, Biden is a proponent of forever wars, he’s going to keep us in Afghanistan forever. They were faulting Biden for doing the exact opposite of what they’re faulting him for now,” Tapper continued.
The May 1st deadline was part of a deal reached between the Trump administration and the Taliban — a deal that Biden ultimately broke.
According to former Vice President Mike Pence, the situation in Afghanistan right now is a direct result of Biden reneging on it.
“In February 2020, the Trump administration reached an agreement that required the Taliban to end all attacks on U.S. military personnel, to refuse terrorists safe harbor, and to negotiate with Afghan leaders on creating a new government. As long as these conditions were met, the U.S. would conduct a gradual and orderly withdrawal of military forces,” he wrote this week in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.
“Unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, the agreement immediately brought to Afghanistan a stability unseen in decades. In the past 18 months, the U.S. has not suffered a single combat casualty there,” he added.
Yet soon after being inaugurated into office, Biden “quickly announced that U.S. forces would remain in Afghanistan for an additional four months without a clear reason for doing so,” thus breaking the deal.
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