Don’t buy the BS that Trump would have done a better job for the Afghans.
Olivia Troye, a former White House national security staffer during the Trump administration, sent this message as an email on behalf of the Republican Accountability Project:
“My heart breaks right now for the people of Afghanistan, and for our allies who are trapped in the country and surrounded by the Taliban. This was a disaster that never had to happen, and I hope they are evacuated quickly and safely.
I’m seeing Republicans claim that Trump would have handled the situation far better—and I know for a fact that’s just not true. Until 2020, I was a national security staffer for the Trump administration, until I quit after seeing just how incompetent and cruel he was. Afghanistan was no exception.
I sat in cabinet meetings about getting Americans and our Afghan allies out of the country. In them, Stephen Miller would peddle his racist hysteria. He and his enablers across the government undermined anyone who worked on solving the issues in getting special immigrant visas (SIVs) for our Afghan allies by undermining the system at Homeland Security and the State Department.
I tracked this issue personally in my role at the White House. I met with many refugee advocate organizations who pleaded for help in getting U.S. allies through the process.
But we got nowhere because Trump and Miller had watchdogs in place at the Justice Department, Homeland Security, State and other agencies that made an already cumbersome SIV process even more challenging.
The system wouldn’t budge, no matter how much we argued in National Security Council meetings. The Pentagon weighed in, saying we needed to get these allies through the process. Mattis and others sent memos trying to help. We all knew the urgency, but we were blocked at every turn.
Good people within the Trump Administration tried to counter Miller’s obstruction, but their fear of retaliation was palpable. Numerous closed door meetings were held, strategizing how to navigate this issue.
Trump had four years to develop a plan. We could have used that time to lay the groundwork to evacuate our Afghan allies. They were the lifelines for many of us who spent time in Afghanistan.
They’d been waiting a long time, all the while under the threat of death at the hands of the Taliban. The process slowed to a trickle for reviews and “other priorities.” Ultimately, they came to a halt.
I have one thing to say to Trump’s defenders who are making blanket statements and pushing false narratives about Afghanistan: please, just stop. Some of you were actively involved in making it harder to get our Afghan allies to safety. Your comments are uninformed and hurtful. And we see right through you.
I’m grateful for everyone now advocating the urgency of getting our allies out of Afghanistan ASAP and those who are doing everything they can to help. This is a matter of national security.
Most importantly, it’s the least we can do for these individuals. The world is watching.
Olivia Troye, Director, Republican Accountability Project”
Peter Kjenaas is an author, screenwriter, theater director, producer, chef, AirBnB host, parent and caregiver extraordinaire. And now he adds travel writer to his resumé as he sets off across the country in a 1971 VW camper bus. But first and foremost he is a caring and productive human who has graciously allowed us to post some of his writings to this site. See his latest book at PeterKjenaas.com, and his travel adventures at Riders on the Storm Bus.