In early 2020, the Trump administration signed a peace deal with the Taliban to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by May of 2021. Many applauded, including Republicans. Earlier this year, Biden pushed forward the May withdrawal deadline, and Republicans criticized him. Now that the Biden administration has ended the war by withdrawing troops, they are attacking him for withdrawing so quickly, or at all.
The hypocrisy is not just related to timing. When Trump was dealing with the Taliban, Republicans allied with the administration lauded him. Now, Biden’s dealings with the Taliban are criticized.
To cover their tracks and hide hypocrisy, some try to hide the evidence by deleting posts or webpages. Here are some notable examples:
Pushing earlier full withdrawal
Former President Donald Trump then
On June 26, Trump attacked Biden for not withdrawing earlier, and took credit for locking the United States into the deal with the Taliban: “I started the process. All the troops are coming back home. They couldn’t stop the process. 21 years is enough. Don’t we think? 21 years. [The Biden admin] couldn’t stop the process. They wanted to, but it was very tough to stop.”
In August, Trump’s political group released a new ad attacking Biden as the “Surrenderer-in-Chief.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) then
Replying to a news article about Biden delaying the withdrawal deadline from May to September, Boebert tweeted in February: “We’ve been in Afghanistan for more than half my life. We need to end the endless wars.” She also voted against increasing visas for Afghans who helped the U.S. military in July.
Rep. Boebert now
Boerbert attacked Biden on Twitter for pulling out of Afghanistan and not learning the lesson of Saigon.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) then
In November 2020, Hawley wrote in a letter to the Defense Department, “I write to express my support for President Trump’s plan for the prompt withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.”
Hawley also criticized Biden for delaying the withdrawal date of May 1 set by the Trump administration, and concluded “better late than never.”
Sen. Hawley now
In August 2021, Hawley said in a statement, “President Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a disastrous display of incompetence.”
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) then
Tweeted at Biden in March: “you claim you ‘can’t picture’ U.S. troops being in Afghanistan next year, but you still suggest a May 1 withdrawal date isn’t possible. That kind of thinking has kept us in Afghanistan nearly 20 years. We must end our forever wars.”
Rep. Biggs now
Tweeted: “Let’s set the record straight before Biden & co. starts blaming Trump for the Afghanistan disaster. Biden abandoned Trump’s peace plan & exit strategy & haphazardly created his own. Biden is FULLY responsible for this absolute wreck.”
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) then
When Trump announced his plans to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, McCarthy said: “After nearly 20 years in Afghanistan, this administration is working toward closing this chapter. Today’s announcement is a positive step, but the Taliban must prove to the world they are ready for peace.”
Minority Leader McCarthy now
“I would not allow the Taliban to dictate the date that Americans leave. But this president did, and I don’t believe any other president would, Republican or Democrat, outside of Joe Biden,” McCarthy said at a late August news conference.
Former President Trump then
Trump said in 2020 that the Taliban are tired of fighting, and his administration was dealing well with them: “We’re dealing very well with the Taliban. They’re very tough. They’re very smart. They’re very sharp, but you know, it’s been 19 years and even they are tired of fighting”
He released a slew of critical statements, including one saying: “If I were now President, the world would find that our withdrawal from Afghanistan would be a conditions-based withdrawal. I personally had discussions with top Taliban leaders whereby they understood what they are doing now would not have been acceptable. It would have been a much different and much more successful withdrawal, and the Taliban understood that better than anyone.”
Secretary of State Pompeo then
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo oversaw negotiations with the Taliban last year and trumpeted the deal that locked the United States into a conditions-based withdrawal within 14 months, which the Taliban quickly began to ignore.
Pompeo flipped his script when it came to the Taliban. In March 2020, he said, “we have seen the senior Taliban leadership working diligently to reduce violence from previous levels during similar time periods.” In September 2020, he also said, “There are a series of commitments that the Taliban have made. We have every expectation that they will follow through on them.”
The Taliban did not keep those commitments, instead working with al-Qaeda, killing thousands in 2020, with a big rise in the last three months.
Sec. Pompeo now
Now, in August 2021, he called the Taliban “butchers” who are “evil people.” He said “we never trusted the Taliban,” and attacked the Biden administration for letting “the Taliban run free and wild all over Afghanistan.”
Vice President Pence now
Pence called Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan “a disgrace” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “Biden Broke Our Deal With the Taliban.”
Covering their tracks
On September 15, 2020, the party’s website published a page titled “President Trump is bringing peace to the Middle East.”
This included a section on Afghanistan, bragging about the deal that committed Biden to withdraw all troops: “President Trump has continued to take the lead in peace talks as he signed a historic peace agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan” One line noted, “On February 2, 2020 , the Trump Administration signed a preliminary peace agreement with the Taliban that sets the stage to end America’s longest war. Under the agreement , the U.S. will withdraw nearly 5,000 troops from the country in 135 days in exchange for a Taliban agreement to not allow Afghanistan to be used for transnational terrorism.” In August 2021, the page was removed, and has not been put back up.
On April 18th, 2021, Trump released a statement about Biden’s plan to push the planned withdrawal date from May 1 to September 11:
“I wish Joe Biden wouldn’t use September 11th as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for two reasons. First, we can and should get out earlier. Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long. I made early withdraw [sic] possible by already pulling much of our billions of dollars of equipment out and, more importantly, reducing our military presence to less than 2,000 troops from the 16,000 level that was there — likewise in Iraq, and zero troops in Syria except for the area where we KEPT THE OIL. … Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do. I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible.”
The statement received minimal coverage. And as of August 2021, it was no longer available to view on Trump’s site. Screenshots remain.