(CNSNews.com) – Calling for accountability for their handling of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, members of the House Freedom Caucus on Tuesday said President Biden, Defense Secretary Gen. Lloyd Austin and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley should resign.
“Ultimately this comes down to the man himself, who always says ‘the buck stops here’ and then he blames everybody but himself – President Joe Biden,” caucus chairman Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said during a Capitol Hill press conference. “We call upon him to resign immediately.”
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), who has introduced sense of Congress resolutions calling for the immediate resignation of Biden, Austin and Milley, said it was “the right thing to do for the president of the United States to preserve some modicum of honor, and to step down.”
Three issues raised repeatedly during the 50 minute-long press conference were the deaths of 13 U.S. service personnel in last week’s terrorist attack at Kabul airport, the fact an unknown number of U.S. citizens were left behind when the U.S. military-led evacuation mission ended late Monday, and the fact billions of dollars worth of abandoned U.S.military equipment was now in the hands of Taliban terrorists.
“We’re concerned about the direction of this country. Under this administration there is so much that has gone wrong,” Biggs said.
“But moreover, as we’ve watched the disastrous evacuation of our troops from Afghanistan, as we’ve watched Americans left behind in Afghanistan, as we’ve watched literally billions of dollars of materiel be left behind in Afghanistan.”
Higgins noted that if Biden does resign, the constitutional process of succession will proceed, with Vice President Kamala Harris becoming president.
The caucus members are also calling for the impeachment of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, whom Biggs said they believe “has got culpability for much of the travesty that has gone on here.”
Freedom Caucus members Reps. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) on Friday introduced articles of impeachment against Blinken.
Harris said at the briefing Blinken had “utterly failed in his duties,” including his statutory responsibility for the “safe and efficient” evacuation of U.S. personnel, dependents, and citizens “when their lives are in danger.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came under fire during the briefing for not calling the House back into session, with caucus members urging her to do so – or to vacate the chair.
The three resolutions introduced by Higgins described the troop withdrawal as “an abysmal failure” that had “jeopardized the safety of, and in some cases directly resulted in the death of, United States citizens, United States armed servicemembers, and Afghan civilians.”
They said the administration’s conduct of the withdrawal had brought “international condemnation of the United States, including from our allies” and had “diminished the United States standing on the international stage, allowing adversaries such as Russia and China to call into question the United States ability to fulfill its military and defense commitments.”
The measures also referred to the military equipment left behind and said the administration’s handling of the crisis had “created a permanent rupture of trust between this military chain of command and the American people and our allies.”
The respective resolutions said Biden, Austin, and Milley had failed to fulfill their oaths of office and that the actions outlined in the text “constitute a severe dereliction of duty.”
Last Friday White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about calls from Republican lawmakers for Biden to resign and said that a day when U.S. service personnel had been killed in Afghanistan was “not a day for politics.”
Four days earlier, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was asked whether Biden planned to fire, reassign, or ask for the resignation of any administration official who was handling the Afghanistan situation.
“I have not heard him say so,” Sullivan replied. “It’s, of course, your job to ask those kinds of questions. It’s my job just to keep doing what we’re doing, which is every day try to get as many people out [of Kabul] as possible.”