RNC: Fire Blinken For Botched Afghan Withdrawal US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives remarks during a 9/11 commemoration event to mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, at the State Department in Washington, DC on September 10, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/ AFP via Getty)
By Brian Freeman | Monday, 13 September 2021 04:12 PM
The Republican National Committee on Monday called for President Joe Biden to fire Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Newsweek reports.
In a statement, the RNC demanded that Blinken be held accountable for his “disastrous handling of Afghanistan and weak leadership, [which] put American lives in danger, including the lives of Americans still trapped in Afghanistan."
The State Department has come under heavy bipartisan criticism for not doing enough and not acting quickly enough to make sure American citizens, legal residents and at-risk Afghans could get out of the country after the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15.
Blinken has sought to deflect claims of unpreparedness by pointing out that the Biden administration inherited a U.S.-Taliban peace agreement from former President Donald Trump, as well as a slow-moving process to grant visas Afghans who had helped the U.S. durinig its 20-year presence in the country.
Blinken, who had publicly predicted in June that a complete Taliban takeover would not happen "from a Friday to a Monday," has also tried to explain away his inaccurate assessment by emphasizing that no one in the U.S. government expected the Afghan government to fall as rapidly as it did.
"Even the most pessimistic assessments did not predict that government forces in Kabul would collapse while U.S. forces remained," Blinken said in prepared remarks released by the State Department.
He also defended the evacuation, saying it “was an extraordinary effort – under the most difficult conditions imaginable – by our diplomats, military, and intelligence professionals," according to the prepared remarks. "In the end, we completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with 124,000 people evacuated to safety."
Due to Blinken’s close ties with Biden, his job is not considered to seriously be in danger, but State Department officials have acknowledged that congressional hearings this week could be extremely contentious.