It seemed like Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had recently been making a play for respectability. Whether it was or wasn’t going well might depend on who you asked, but she appears to have given up on that. While introducing a vindictive and ultimately impotent amendment to reduce Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s salary to $1 as punishment for his apparent wokeness, Greene made another whopper of a claim, one that really brings home the Republican drive to make a deceased George Orwell their top political strategist.
“And President Trump would have never left the Afghan people in complete ruin and being controlled by a terrorist government, the Taliban.”
This is … this is literally exactly what Donald Trump did. It was in the papers. He boasted about it. He was quite damn pleased about it, in fact, to the point where you couldn’t not hear about it. Now we’ve got the very personification of Generic House Republican piping up to deny that any of it ever happened.
For those of you not interested in taking the runaway train to wherever Greene is headed, I can promise you that you’re not imagining the entirety of Trump’s term of office. Trump became obsessed with getting American troops out of Afghanistan even as he failed dismally at bringing peace to the Middle East, bringing new beachfront condominiums to North Korea, sabotaging NATO, and the rest of his haphazard would-be international agenda.
The early core of Trump’s plan was that he would invite the terrorist ex-government in question, the Taliban, to Camp David to negotiate the final terms of America’s withdrawal. His advisers were split on this crackpot plan to treat a terrorist group as visiting heads of state, and the existing government of Afghanistan was furious that Trump was negotiating this supposed peace plan without their consent or involvement.
That capper to Trump’s “peace plan” never happened (if only just barely), but the Trump order to create a peace plan with the Taliban that would allow him to withdraw American forces was still fully in force and eventually finalized on Feb. 29, 2020.
Here it is. It is called the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan. It’s between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is otherwise known as the Taliban) and the United States of America. The final signed document asserts that the United States will make “a complete withdrawal” of American troops in exchange for the Taliban agreeing to not attack those withdrawing troops, and a promise not to support new terrorism against the United States from Afghanistan soil.
It’s the cornerstone of the whole fu–kin’ agreement, spelled out plain and simple so as to not confuse even people with the reading comprehension of Marjorie Taylor Greene. It spells out the specific timeline of the withdrawal, with specific troop reductions to be achieved at 135 days after the signing, and with “all” remaining troops gone 9.5 months after that.
“We had a very good conversation with the leader of the Taliban today,” Trump bragged a few days after the signing.
“The relationship is very good that I have with the mullah,” he boasted. “We had a good long conversation today and, you know, they want to cease the violence.”
So yes, “President Trump” spent a great deal of his administration honing a plan that would specifically, in Greene’s words, have left the Afghan people under the control of the Taliban in exchange for being able to boast that Trump had ended American involvement. And that is precisely what was seen, with civilian casualties in the country rising as American forces began their withdrawals.
Nine months later, Trump ended up losing his reelection bid and was ejected from office—though not before he attempted to overturn the election and overthrow the duly elected new president. That put the withdrawal of the final 2,500 troops on Biden’s watch, not Trump’s, but Trump still bragged to his base that it was both his idea and that the new administration couldn’t get out of his Taliban-signed deal even if they wanted to.
In an April 18 statement that has since been deleted from his website, Trump said, “Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do. I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible.” And on June 26, Trump emphasized that his administration was responsible for starting the process to bring all troops back, saying “I started the process. All the troops are coming back home. They couldn’t stop the process. Twenty-one years is enough, don’t we think?”
If anything, then, it’s possible Trump is about to pound out a furious social media post blasting Greene for attempting to take his one glorious, bragged-about international policy victory away from him.
The record is clear, even if a propaganda-fueled and fascist Republican Party wants to scrub it from the history books for the sake of Dear Leader’s potential redemption arc. Trump personally initiated the plan to relinquish Afghanistan to the Taliban’s “terrorist government”; he kept Afghanistan’s existing government out of the talks between his administration and Taliban leaders; he had already completed the agreed-upon withdrawal of all but a skeletal U.S. military presence before Biden had the White House fumigated, de-bugged, and occupied it himself; and Trump bragged about it every step of the way.
It’s not clear why that means current Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin needs his pay revoked, but nobody ever accused Greene of feats of logic.
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