ICYMI: McConnell on Fox News Sunday

LOUISVILLE, KY – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined Chris Wallace this morning on Fox News Sunday. See below for highlights or click here for the full interview:

On the Biden Administration’s Disastrous Exit from Afghanistan:

“I think what's been lost in all this, Chris, is why we went there in the first place. We went there to prevent the Taliban from having a regime that would allow terrorists to reconstitute themselves and hit us here at home. It’s been a total success. This term ‘endless war’, let's take a look at it. The last seven months, the Afghans have lost more people fighting than we have over 20 years. They’ve taken 65,000 casualties, we've taken roughly 2,000 in 20 years. The last year and a half we’d lost no one. With the continued deployment of 2500 people, we were in effect keeping a lid on, keeping terrorists from reconstituting, and having a light footprint in the country. The policy was working. Therefore, I think calling it an endless war or claiming that we are somehow trying to get involved in a civil war, domestic civil war, is simply not accurate. We went over there to protect us here at home. We have not had a mass casualty attack from over there in these 20 years. I’d call that a successful policy.

“Now we are looking at the exit and over the next two days, our heroic military is doing the best they can with a horrible policy decision. This is one of the worst foreign policy decisions in American history. Much worse than Saigon because after we left Saigon there weren't Vietnamese terrorists who were planning on attacking us here at home. That we leave behind exactly what we went in to solve 20 years ago and I fear for the future and continue the War on Terror. Just because we decided to quit fighting doesn't mean the terrorists go away, so they are still out there, they are invigorated, they are emboldened and excited about the success they say in bringing America to its knees in Afghanistan.”

On the Difficulty of Protecting US interests from Over the Horizon:

We will not have sources on the ground. The over the horizon attacks such as was carried out is, you know, quite limited in the effectiveness and every either American or Afghan ally left behind is either a potential victim or a hostage. Remember the Taliban love taking hostages. They’ve done this before. It puts us in an extraordinarily difficult position and also remember, Afghanistan is landlocked. There’s only one way in by air and one way out by air. We don't have sort of friends in the neighborhood that would provide us the kind of intelligence that we would normally get, for example, in Syria or in Africa or in Yemen, so it's going to be extremely difficult. We have very, very little leverage to extract additional Americans or Afghan allies from this landlocked country.

On the Lack of Leverage with the Taliban:

“They have other sources of revenue and of course they’re not particularly concerned about international pressure. These are barbarians who certainly are not motivated by what others may think of them, and they've got the neighboring countries that have actually been sympathetic to them. The Pakistan government has always been somewhat sympathetic to them so they've got kind of a friendly neighbor as well. So we have little or no leverage to get our people out or our allies.

“What’s been really encouraging is to see the American veterans who come back from over there working with their former interpreters, communicating with them, trying to get them back to the airport to get out of there. The American veterans, we've heard from many of them in my state, I know other members of Congress have, have been working overnight trying to get their friends and allies out of that country. It’s been quite inspiring to see all of these veterans pitching in and then trying to help their former colleagues.”

On Importance of Vaccines:

“[I]t's important to remember that 90% of the people in the hospitals are unvaccinated, so the answer to this is get vaccinated. If we could keep saying that over and over and over again, I think that's the key to this. This is a crisis among unvaccinated Americans who seem to be reluctant to believe that vaccination works. It does.”