Five U.S. Navy SEAL veterans, who are all Republican Congressional candidates in the 2022 mid-term elections, joined together on live television this week to call for accountability for the U.S. citizens still left in Afghanistan two months after the U.S. military concluded its civilian evacuation efforts and left the country.
Former Navy SEALs Derrick Van Orden, Brady Duke, Eli Crane, Morgan Luttrell and Ryan Zinke all sat together for an interview with Fox News on Wednesday and responded to the Pentagon’s new report of 439 U.S. citizens still stuck in Afghanistan. The new Pentagon estimate of Americans left in Afghanistan comes two months after the U.S. military left the country and after members of President Joe Biden’s administration initially estimated there were only about 100 U.S. citizens still seeking a way out of the country after the military left.
“Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade began the interview saying to Van Orden, “You knew when they were approximating 100, they weren’t being accurate and they weren’t being candid. Did you know it was this bad?”
“Yes, absolutely. I believe it’s worse,” Van Orden replied. “The Biden administration has a problem with competence and confidence in the American people. We do not believe the Biden administration. I still don’t.”
Van Orden then accused Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and President Biden himself of “intentionally” leaving “hundreds, if not thousands of American citizens and our allies to their fate with terrorists, and it’s completely unacceptable.”
Duke also questioned Biden’s characterization of the evacuation effort as “an extraordinary success.” Duke said, “To hear that from the mouth of the President, knowing good and well that there are Americans on the ground, is absolutely embarrassing to the country and is not something that you could even call American.”
Crane said a problem for the Biden administration is “nobody wants to take ownership or accountability for what’s going on in this country.” Crane said that assessment holds true not only for the Afghanistan withdrawal but for other issues affecting the U.S.
In a question for Luttrell, Kilmeade noted the onset of starvation concerns in Afghanistan and raised the question of whether Americans might be taken hostage and held for ransom in exchange for aid from the international community.
“You’re not wrong,” Luttrell said. “And that’s why the five of us are up here today. We are men of action. We’re up here to ask those hard questions and get the answers to what the American public want to hear and we’re bent on doing just that.”
Zinke, who previously served as the Secretary of the Interior under President Donald Trump, said his goal is to help the Republican party retake the majority in the House of Representatives. “It’s majority, White House, save America.”