After a few days of road-testing scattered messages, major players in the GOP and conservative media have started to coalesce around a unified message to Afghans seeking refuge in the United States: Stay the hell out of my country.
As President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from the war in Afghanistan has unfolded with the Taliban quickly retaking power and an exploding refugee and humanitarian crisis, immigration advocates and human-rights groups have blasted the Biden administration for its failures to adequately prepare for the evacuation and resettlement of thousands of Afghans and their families. The leader of the GOP, former President Donald Trump, mocked his successor (and was sure to fundraise off of the chaos), issuing a statement on Monday saying, “Can anyone even imagine taking out our Military before evacuating civilians and others who have been good to our Country and who should be allowed to seek refuge?” and dubiously alleged, “Under my Administration, all civilians and equipment would have been removed.”
Trump’s spokeswoman did not provide comment following inquiries on whether the ex-president meant to advocate for resettlement in the U.S., or in third-party countries. But four people close to the president, including two former senior administration officials who worked directly with Trump on immigration and refugee policies, cast doubt that the ex-president was inviting Afghans to the homeland.