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Washington, D.C. – At a press conference today, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) addressed the tragic loss of 13 American service members in Afghanistan. “Our enemies have taken advantage of this chaotic nature of a withdrawal,” McCarthy said. “And yesterday, they crossed a red line.”

“Yesterday was a catastrophic day for our nation and our military. 

“We are reminded of the words from John 15:13: ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’

“American troops were targeted and attacked by ISIS suicide bombers in Kabul.

“Ten U.S. Marines died in the blast. Two soldiers lost their lives. One Navy Medic was killed. And 18 other service members were seriously injured.

“It was the deadliest day for our military in more than a decade.

“Dozens of Afghans were also killed or wounded, including innocent children.

“To the 13 new Gold Star families, my message to you is this: your loved ones died as heroes. We will always honor their memories and we pray for you to know peace. 

“They knew there was a threat of an attack and they carried out their mission anyway. Heroic — the only way to describe their actions.

“To the brave troops and stranded Americans in Afghanistan, we pray for you to return home safe.

“Our enemies have taken advantage of the chaotic nature of the withdrawal. And yesterday, a red line was crossed.

“Like many of you, I listened closely to what President Biden had to say last night — and I heard the President dodge tough questions about his execution of the withdrawal.

“I heard him present a false choice between exiting, evacuating, and escalating.

“I heard him say ‘the mission will continue’ but the Taliban-dictated deadline will remain in place.

“I heard him say leaving Bagram ‘was not much value added’ and ‘getting every single person out cannot be guaranteed.’

“I heard him say he can’t remember ‘with certitude”’if his administration gave American names to Taliban terrorists.

“And I heard him say, ‘what America says matters’ as he gets ready to break our word to our allies and Afghan partners who fought alongside us for 20 years.

“What I did not hear from the President was the decisive leadership our troops, our citizens, and our allies deserve.

“Frankly, this isn’t the tested leadership the President promised. It’s a picture of weakness and incompetence.

“To be commander in chief, you need the faith, trust, and confidence from the American people. Yesterday, the President lost all three.

“Congress can’t sit idle as a separate branch of government while our troops are targeted and Americans remain stranded.

“It is time for us to act quickly to save lives.

“Speaker Pelosi needs to call Congress back into session now so we can:

  • Get a comprehensive, classified briefing from the Biden Administration; and
  • Pass Representative Gallagher’s bill to prohibit the President from withdrawing our troops until every American is out of Afghanistan safely.

 “This isn’t the time for Taliban-dictated deadlines.This isn’t the time for doing nothing. This is the time for decisive leadership.

“Partisan political decisions designed to get you photo ops lead to fatal national security consequences on the battlefield.

“It was a partisan political decision to act in haste days prior to a tragic anniversary — and our men in uniform died as a result.

“The only question we have now is — How do we prevent this in the days to follow?

“How do we learn from the mistakes of the last seven days so we don’t make them over the next 30?

“I have a simple principle that our brave men and women will know all too well — Leave. No one. Behind.

“Lives are at stake — and our troops, our citizens, and our allies deserve so much better.

“Let’s act now before this tragedy gets even worse.

“Thank you. God bless the United States of America. And God Bless our troops.”