Pelosi reprimands Reps. Moulton and Meijer over trip to Kabul: "This is deadly serious"

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said that there was an "opportunity cost" associated with Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) visiting Kabul on Tuesday as evacuation efforts continue in Afghanistan.

Driving the news: "It's not just about them going to Afghanistan, but in going to the region, because there's a call on our resources diplomatically, politically, militarily in the region as well, so this is deadly serious," Pelosi said at a press briefing Wednesday.

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  • Pelosi also said that this trip — which required the approval of committee chairs — was not approved by the Democratic side.

  • "The point is that we don't want anybody to think this was a good idea and that they should try to follow suit."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said later Wednesday that the lawmakers should not have traveled to Afghanistan, but expressed understanding for their reason to do so.

  • "I don't think it's right that they went, but I understand their frustration of why they would want to go. ... They realize it's life and death, so yes, they made a decision to try to do something on their own," McCarthy said.

  • "Any member that I've heard that might go, I explain to them that I don't think they should, I think it creates a greater risk ... you take military away from doing their job of getting as many Americans out as we can."

The big picture: Pelosi on Tuesday wrote a letter to lawmakers urging them not to travel to the region — just after Moulton and Meijer's trip.

  • Pelosi said she learned of the trip "a little bit before it was in the public domain," but did not make it known "until they were airborne, [as] it would not have been safe for them."

  • "I think my letter speaks for itself in terms of, people shouldn't be going there," Pelosi said.

  • "We were not aware when they were en route," Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

  • "Our guidance continues to be to all American citizens, including elected officials, this is not the time to travel to Afghanistan," she continued.

Go deeper: Reps. Seth Moulton and Peter Meijer visit Kabul amid evacuations

Editor's note: This story has been updated with McCarthy's and Psaki's comments.

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