House Republicans last week introduced articles of impeachment against Secretary of State Antony Blinken for “high crimes and misdemeanors” leading up to the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Republican Reps. Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Andy Harris of Maryland co-sponsored the resolution. They said “inexcusable failures” on behalf of Mr. Blinken led to the lives lost in Thursday’s terrorist attack in Kabul and “set a horrible precedent on the international stage.”
“Secretary Blinken’s complete and utter failure of managing this avoidable catastrophe makes him unfit for leadership, and I hope my colleagues will join me in pushing for his removal,” Mr. Harris said.
State Department spokesman Ned Price brushed the calls for Mr. Blinken’s impeachment aside Friday, saying there were more pressing matters at hand.
“Secretary Blinken is focused on one thing and one thing only: the evacuation of American citizens and our allies and partners,” Mr. Price said.
At this time, the impeachment articles have virtually no chance of advancing in the Democratic-run House.
Several House Republicans introduced resolutions earlier this week condemning the administration for the bungled withdrawal. Messrs. Norman and Harris’ resolution is the first to call for an administration official to be impeached.
“There are hundreds of questions that need answers about this disastrous outcome from previous leaders, President Biden, and his entire administration,” the lawmakers said. “One lost life is one too many. Secretary Blinken played a vital role in this foreign policy failure and his dereliction of duty deserves nothing less than impeachment.”
The resolution came at the end of Mr. Biden’s worst week in office.
The administration has scrambled to get as many U.S. citizens and Afghan refugees as possible out of Afghanistan ahead of Mr. Biden’s Tuesday deadline to pull out all U.S. troops, effectively ending the evacuation mission.
On Thursday, a suicide bombing ripped through Kabul killing more than 100 people including 13 U.S. service members.
Despite the evacuation of more than 100,000 people since the full-scale evacuation began Aug. 14, close to 1,000 U.S. citizens and tens of thousands of Afghans wanting to flee remain trapped in Afghanistan.
Several lawmakers, including Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Josh Hawley of Missouri, called on Mr. Biden and key members of his administration to resign on Thursday in the wake of the attacks.
“Blinken knew terrorists were coming,” Mrs. Blackburn said. “He should resign.”
Members of the president’s Democratic Party, too, were critical of the administration, though stopped short of calling for resignations.
Rep. Susan Wild, Pennsylvania Democrat, said that “the evacuation process has been egregiously mishandled.”
“In order to move forward, our country will need to receive answers and accountability regarding the cascading failures that led us to this catastrophic moment, and I look forward to using my platform on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to secure answers from the Biden Administration about what went wrong,” Mrs. Wild said.
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, said the situation in Afghanistan had devolved into a “full-fledged humanitarian crisis” and urged the administration to gain control of the airport and complete the evacuation.
In an address Thursday, Mr. Biden told reporters he bore responsibility for “fundamentally, all that has happened of late,” yet reiterated that he had little choice but to withdraw from Afghanistan following the deal his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, reached with the Taliban.
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