Republican Sen. Ben Sasse accuses Biden of using 'happy talk' in Afghanistan approach, says he is 'disconnected from reality'

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Republican Sen. Ben Sasse accuses Biden of using 'happy talk' in Afghanistan approach, says he is 'disconnected from reality'
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Tasos Katopodis-Pool/Getty Images
  • Sen. Sasse said President Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal strategy amounted to "happy talk."
  • "President Biden has been repeatedly disconnected from reality," the Nebraska senator said Sunday.
  • Sasse is worried about Afghan allies and US citizens who could be left in the country after Aug. 31.

Sen. Ben Sasse on Sunday slammed President Joe Biden, accusing him of employing "happy talk" in his strategy for evacuating US citizens and allies from Afghanistan before the August 31 withdrawal deadline.

During an interview on ABC's "This Week," the Nebraska Republican told host Martha Raddatz that Biden didn't have a plan for getting people out of the country and charged that people have died because of what he sees as the administration's missteps.

"There is clearly no plan. There has been no plan. Their plan has basically been happy talk," he said. "People have died and people are going to die because President Biden decided to rely on happy talk instead of reality."

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He added: "What we need is a commander-in-chief that actually has a big plan and a big way to solve this problem. President Biden has been repeatedly disconnected from reality."

Sasse's comments come after Thursday's terrorist attack near the Kabul airport, which killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members and marked the deadliest day for US military members in the country since 2011.

Read more: How Americans who helped prosecute the Taliban are going down a 'black hole' to help their Afghan interpreters

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The senator also pointed to a recent Politico report, which said that the US had sent a list of American citizens and Afghan allies to the Taliban to help them get access to the Kabul airport, which he tore into as "insane."

"They passed a list of American citizens and America's closest allies, people who fought alongside us, they passed those lists to the Taliban, relying on them, thinking they could trust on them. It was stupid then. It's insane now," Sasse said. "And their plan still seems to be, 'Let's rely on the Taliban because the Taliban cares a lot about what world opinion thinks of them at French restaurants.' It was a disgusting revelation of yet again no plan."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken pushed back on the allegation that the administration gave names to the Taliban, saying they would not put Americans or allies in harms way.

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"The idea that we've done anything to put at further risk those that we're trying to help leave the country is simply wrong," Blinken said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "And the idea that we shared lists of Americans or others with the Taliban is simply wrong."

State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a Friday briefing also refuted the notion that the administration would endanger individuals in Afghanistan.

"The notion that we are just providing names upon names of individuals who may stay behind in Afghanistan or in a way that would expose anyone to additional risk - that is simply false," Price said at the time.

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Sasse has been one of Biden's most vocal critics in recent weeks, urging him to keep a "light footprint" of troops in the country and criticizing the administration's decision to walk away from the Bagram Air Base that was once of the nerve center of US military operations in Afghanistan.

Biden has said he intends to stick with the August 31 deadline for leaving Afghanistan. To date, about 117,000 people, mostly Afghans, have been evacuated from the country since the Taliban seized Kabul earlier this month, according to Pentagon officials.

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