Weeks after the final U.S. troops were pulled out of Afghanistan, President Joe Biden continues to face widespread criticism for the chaos that unfolded in the war-torn country as a result of his policies.
A growing number of Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), believe the president should be removed from office over his handling of the situation.
“All the way up to the top”
She offered her take on the matter during a recent interview with Breitbart, placing the blame on Biden in part for his apparent failure to listen to the advice of top military officials.
Ernst’s remarks came on the heels of congressional testimony by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and others who indicated that they would have preferred to see a remnant of about 2,500 troops remain in Afghanistan.
“I can’t point the finger at anybody that was serving in Afghanistan, because I think they were providing their best military advice through the chain of command, all the way up to the top,” the senator said.
Instead, she said that it was the president who “chose not to follow” the advice he received. Of course, not everyone in her party is so willing to give military leaders a pass.
During the hearings last week on Capitol Hill, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called on Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to resign over their respective roles in the Afghanistan debacle.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller has also demanded accountability from the military, but leaders at the Pentagon have retaliated against him.
Scheller was reportedly relieved of his command, subjected to a mental health evaluation, and even locked up in a solitary confinement cell for defying a gag order. Meanwhile, Republicans have offered only muted support for the embattled Marine.
For her part, Ernst suggested that it was appropriate for Scheller to be relieved of duty but questioned a perceived “double standard” after he was thrown in the brig for criticizing his superiors.
“There are obviously some differences here,” she said. “If you speak out against the Democratic president, you get thrown in the brig, but if you’re doing something against a Republican president, you’re lauded a hero.”
Other Republicans have been more forceful in their defense of Schiller, including Senate candidate J.D. Vance, who called him a “political prisoner.”