Republicans have attempted to twist President Joe Biden's interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos to say that Biden claimed no military leader told him to keep 2,500 troops on the ground in Afghanistan.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) paused the hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday to quote the full conversation in the interview.
"I do want to make a comment because I actually watched the George Stephanopoulos interview," said Rep. Smith while Republicans tried to shout over him. "Joe Biden never suggested that no one -- I have the time. And what he said was you cannot have 2500 troops stay there in a stable situation. So, we should at least be accurate about what information was provided. I would urge everyone to look at the words and not take what is being said here as accurate."
Republicans insisted they "read the quote," but most aren't reading the full conversation between Biden and Stephanopoulos.
Stephanopoulos first said to Biden, "But your top military advisors warned against withdrawing on this timeline. They wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops."
"No, they didn't. It was split. Tha-- that wasn't true. That wasn't true," said Biden. The generals testifying over Tuesday and Wednesday confirmed that the advisers were split.
"They didn't tell you that they wanted troops to stay?" asked Stephanopoulos.
Biden explained "not in terms of whether we were going to get out in a timeframe all troops. They didn't argue against that."
Stephanopoulos read a full quote he said was from a military adviser, and Rep. Smith explained that it was clear Biden was responding to the last part of the question about stability. "So no one told -- your military advisors did not tell you, 'No, we should just keep 2,500 troops. It's been a stable situation for the last several years. We can do that. We can continue to do that'?"
Biden then replied that the reason it was a "stable situation" was because of the agreement between Donald Trump and the Taliban. The Taliban told Trump that they would stop attacking American soldiers if they withdrew. So, the withdrawal began and continued to ensure a stable situation.
"I got into office, George. Less than two months after I elected to office, I was sworn in, all of a sudden, I have a May 1 deadline," said Biden. "I have a May 1 deadline. I got one of two choices. Do I say we're staying? And do you think we would not have to put a hell of a lot more troops? B-- you know, we had hundreds-- we had tens of thousands of troops there before. Tens of thousands. Do you think we would've -- that we would've just said, 'No problem. Don't worry about it, we're not gonna attack anybody. We're okay'? In the meantime, the Taliban was taking territory all throughout the country in the north and down in the south, in the Pashtun area."
"I read it too," said Rep. Smith. "And I read it with a clear, open vision of what he was saying, not with a bent to try to make sure we could successfully have a partisan attack on him. He was asked could they stay there in a stable environment? That is it the option he said wasn't on the table. Not because it wasn't offered but because it didn't exist. And while we're ripping apart this three gentlemen here, I want to remind everybody that the decision the president made was to stop fighting a war that, after 20 years it was proven we could not win. There was no easy way to do that."
See the full exchange below:
Fight breaks out in House as Dem calls BS on GOP lie Biden said generals didn't advise keep troops www.youtube.com