First Published: 20th of August, 2021. International News, United StatesLast updated: August 21, 2021 at 14:40 pm
In a recent interview with Fox News Channel, former US president, Donald J. Trump, criticized the Bush Administration for going into the Middle and engaging in warfare since 2001, stating that the United States has “destroyed the Middle East” and adding that he thinks that the Middle East was much better off before US intervention and may never be the same again.
In a the same interview, the former Republican president also admitted that the recent pullout of Afghanistan was inevitable, but what he abhors is the way in which his Democrat counterpart, Joe Biden, executed it. Mr. Trump said that the right thing to do was get the civilians and military equipment out of the country first, and the soldiers last – and that way – the catastrophe that is unfolding now – the endangering of American lives, and American-allied lives, would have been greatly minimized, if not eliminated altogether.
Mr. Trump also seized the opportunity to compare the Biden’s handling of Afghanistan with the way he handles the Mexican/US border saying that nobody has ever handled the border worse.
Donald Trump also highlighted that in the last year and a half there has been no US casualty in Afghanistan and he credits this to his firm negotiations with and warnings to the Taliban. He said that is conditions-based agreement with the Taliban would have ensured a seamless withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and lamented that Joe Biden’s action has humiliated America like never before.
Below is a transcript of the interview between Fox News’ Sean Hannity and former President Donald Trump
Sean Hannity: Joining us now live is the 45th President of the United States, Mr. Donald J. Trump. Mr. President, thank you for being with us. Let me go back… I want to get…I’ve had a number of people tell me…that there were very specific conditions and very specific warnings that you gave personally to the Taliban. Joe Biden is trying to blame you. I want first to give you an opportunity to respond to that…your assessment of what’s going on. And what was that conversation to the extent you feel you are able to share it with us.
Donald Trump: Well, it’s good to be with you Sean, but it’s a terrible time for our country. I don’t think in all of the years our country has ever been so humiliated. I don’t know…would you call it a military defeat or a psychological defeat. There has never been anything like what’s happened here. You can go back to Jimmy Carter with the hostages. We all thought that was a great embarrassment, and we were pulled out of that by Ronald Reagan. This is many, many times worse. And you’re dealing with thousands and thousands of Americans and others that are stranded, and very dangerously, really stranded in Afghanistan. So it’s something that you can’t even believe that a thing like this could…. I looked at that big monster cargo plane yesterday with people grabbing the side and trying to get flown out of Afghanistan because of their fear, their incredible fear. And they are blowing off the plane from 2000 feet up in the air. It’s…nobody has ever seen anything like that. That blows the helicopters in Vietnam away – that’s not even a contest.
This has been the most humiliating period of time I’ve ever seen. Yea, we had a great deal. We worked on it very hard. Mike Pompeo – a brilliant guy, and many others worked on it endlessly. Meetings with the Taliban. Of course you have to meet with the Taliban. They’re the ones that you are negotiating with. I spoke on numerous occasions to the head of the Taliban. And we had a very strong conversation. I told them upfront. I said, “look, before we start, let me just tell you right now that if anything bad happens to Americans or anybody else. Or if you ever come over to our land, we will hit you with a force that no country has ever been hit with before. A force so great that you won’t even believe it. And your village, and we know where it is, and I named it, will be the first one. The first bombs will be dropped right there.”
Interviewer: Mr. President, I want to interrupt. You said this to whom?
Donald Trump: To Mullah Baradar, who is probably the top person. Nobody really knows who the top person is but I would say that’s probably the top person and it seems to be…uh…that’s the way its rolling right now. But I had a very strong conversation. I also had a good conversation with him. We talked for a while after that. That was the primary point I was making. And he understood it. And I asked him, “do you understand?” And he said, “yes I do understand.” And I wanted them to get a deal done with the Afghan government. Now I never had a lot of confidence frankly in Ghani. I said that openly and plainly. I thought he was a total crook. I thought he got away with murder. He spent all his time wining and dining our senators. The senators were in his pocket. That was one of the problems that we had, but I never liked him. And I guess based on his escape with cash…I don’t know…maybe that’s a true story. I would suspect that it is. All you have to do is look at his lifestyle, study his houses where he lives. He got away with murder in many different ways.
But I had a very, very strong talk with the Taliban which I consider to be much more important in this sense, because they were the problem. And they’ve been there for a long time, and they’re good fighters, and they fight hard. And after I said that, we had a pretty good conversation. Now I have to tell you that, if you remember when they were coming to Washington to meet with me, they decided to kill an American soldier because they thought that was a good way to negotiate. And I cancelled the trip. And we had a conditions-based agreement. And if you remember, it said May 1st we wanted to get out, because we have to get out. I’ve listened to people on your show, and other shows, saying we should stay. They don’t know…we were spending 42 billion dollars per year. 42 billion. Think about it…42 billion. I understand Russia spends 50 billion per year for their entire military. We’re spending 42 billion…not 1 percent…they were saying 1 percent…that’s a lot of nonsense. We’re spending 42 billion dollars a year on defending this for years and years. We’ve been there really now not for 20 years, but 21 and a half years.
And we get nothing out of any of these things that we do, whether it’s them, or…many other countries I could tell you about…I’m not going insult anybody right now. But to spend that kind of money. And then to have people get on shows and say how inexpensive it was. And I have to tell you also that we lost no soldiers in the last year and a half because of me and because of the understanding that we had. We lost no soldiers. Think about that. In Chicago, and in New York, and in other cities in the United States, many people die every weekend. We lost no soldiers in Afghanistan because they knew I wasn’t going to put up with it. And that’s what happened. So we had a very strong conversation.
Interviewer: Let me ask you this sir. You know, it’s interesting to listen to Joe Biden blame you. “I inherited this deal,” he kept saying. But he also inherited secure borders. And he also inherited energy independence. And he also inherited three vaccines and therapeutics like regeneron. And we now see what’s been unfolding. And he didn’t have inflation at the time. I want to go back…I want to be very clear here. Cause secretary of State, Pompeo, on this program, said exactly what you did…that there wouldn’t be an exit strategy that wouldn’t include the current conditions on the ground. I have multiple sources you’re confirming tonight that it sounds to me like you told the Taliban that if they violated any aspect of this agreement with territorial ambitions. We learned last week that 60% of the country was in their control. And you told them in no uncertain terms…sounds to me like you basically treat them like you took care of the caliphate in Syria, ISIS.
Donald Trump: Well we did, we got rid of the caliphate. Everyone said it was impossible, and I did it very quickly. And I let the generals make the decisions. The generals, the real generals, the ones who were over there doing the fighting. The ones that knew how do it….cause we have a lot of generals that shouldn’t be generals right now frankly. And I’m watching them all the time. But we have some great ones. We have great leaders in our military. We have the greatest military in the world. And we’re giving it a very bad reputation with what’s happening.
Think of it. We took this horrible place. I mean a place that just…we shouldn’t have been involved. It was a horrible decision going into the Middle East. And I know the Bush family will not be happy. But I believe it was the worst decision in the history of our country when we decided to go into the Middle East. It’s turned out to be quicksand. We’ve destroyed the Middle East. Do you think it’s better now than it was 20, 21 years ago? It’s much worse. It was a horrible decision. It cost us trillions of dollars. And if you look at both sides, cause I like to look at both sides, millions and millions of lives. And it’s no different than it was, it’s much worse because you have to rebuild it. It’s been blown to pieces.
The worst decision ever made was going. You could do a strike as retribution, and it could be a big strike, as retribution for the World Trade Center, etc. But to get stuck in there was like quicksand. So we did a terrible thing. But think of what’s happening now. I’ve heard as many as 40,000 Americans… and the Taliban, good fighters, I will tell you, they are good fighters. You have to give them credit for that. They have been fighting for a thousand years. That’s what they do, is they fight. The Taliban has circled the airport. And who knows if they are going to treat us right? You know all of a sudden they will say “well…” Frankly if they were smart, they’d really… And they are smart. And they are smart. They should let the Americans out. But we’ve had situations…where we could have two or three or four hostages. We could have 40,000 Americans not to mention others like people who have helped us in Afghanistan. So, we have never had a situation like this. We have forty thousand potential hostages…a minimum of 11,000 but it could be as many as 40,000. Nobody knows how many. They don’t know anything.
Interviewer: When Joe Biden told the country that he trusted that the Afghan military was so far superior, and they are over 300,000 strong and they have an air force, and we wouldn’t see what happened in Saigon…he couldn’t have been more wrong. But let me go back to the words you used to the Taliban leader. Because we knew last week that 60% of the country had already been taken over by the Taliban. And there was no sense of urgency, to me. Under your plan, if they had taken over 5%, not 60, 5% that was not in your agreement…what would have happened with them?
Donald Trump: We would have hit them very hard. Again, the words are conditions, plural. Conditions-based. It was an agreement where actually we wanted to get out by May 1st, and they violated the agreement so we didn’t. It was a great agreement from a lot of different standpoints. And frankly, Biden didn’t have to even go by that agreement. He could have done…look what he’s done to the border. We had the greatest border, the southern border, in the history of our country. We’ve stopped drugs. We’ve stopped human trafficking. We stopped people from coming in…prisoners from coming in. Now you have the worst people in the world….They are emptying their jails into our country. This is like the southern border, but it’s handled even worse. Nobody handled the southern border worse than him. We had the most secure border we’ve ever had, and now we have by far the worst border we ever had. Well Afghanistan is the exact same thing.
Think of this. We have a military. It’s holding it. You know I got to reduce them to 2,500 soldiers and they were doing a good job. It was fine. It was a smaller force. I took it down from close to 20,000 to 2,500. And we were fine. But we have the military there. And we take the military out before we took our civilians out. And before we took the interpreters and others we want to try and help. By the way I’m America First. OK. The Americans come out first. But we’re also going to help people that helped us. And we have to be very careful with the vetting, because we have some really rough people in there, but we were going to help those people. But can you imagine…now what we were going to do just very quickly is we were going to take the military out last. OK…last. The people were coming out, they were going to come out.
But the agreement was violated, so I held things back because we weren’t going to do anything. Again…conditions-based. So they would be fulfilling their obligations and conditions. Here’s just to finish. The people come out first. Then I was going to take all of the military equipment. We have billions and billions dollars worth of new blackhawk helicopters – brand new – that Russia now will be examining, and so will China, and so will everybody else that figure because it’s the greatest in the world. We have brand new army tanks and all sorts of equipment…missiles. We have everything. I was going to take it out because I knew they weren’t going to fight.
Just one thing, and I have to say. And this is different from everyone else. I said, “why are they fighting? Why are these Afghan soldiers fighting against the Taliban.” And I was told some very bad information by a lot of different people. The fact is, they are among the highest paid soldiers in the world. They were doing it for paycheck. Because once we stopped, once we left, they stopped fighting. So all of the people that talk about the bravery and everything…I say everybody’s brave. But the fact is our country was paying the Afghan soldiers a fortune. So we were sort of bribing them to fight. And that’s not what it’s all about. It’s a great thing that we’re getting out, but nobody has ever handled a withdrawal worse than Joe Biden. This is the greatest embarrassment, I believe, in the history of our country.
Source: Fox News