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Republican chides Blinken for not testifying in person about Afghanistan

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken was criticized by a Republican congressman for testifying virtually on the Biden administration's withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, chastised Blinken as he testified via video call from the State Department building on Monday, blocks from where the physical hearing took place on Capitol Hill in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

"Mr. Blinken, assuming it isn’t classified, can you tell us where you are today?" Perry said.

"Yes, I'm at the State Department," Blinken answered.

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"Oh, couldn't be bothered to come down here and see Congress? All right, that's great," Perry said.

Blinken began explaining it was his understanding the House was "not in session."

"I’m right here, Mr. Secretary, so is the chairman and ranking member," Perry interrupted. "We’re here!"


House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat, said the event was a "hybrid hearing," so attendees and members were given the option to attend virtually.

He insisted the secretary "has done no wrong" in response to a follow-up inquiry by Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, who asked if Blinken was given the option to appear virtually.

During his testimony, Blinken defended the Biden administration's Afghanistan withdrawal strategy and execution.

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“We planned and exercised a wide range of contingencies. Because of that planning, we were able to draw down our embassy and move our remaining personnel to the airport within 48 hours," Blinken said. "And the military — placed on standby by the president was able to secure the airport and start the evacuation within 72 hours."

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Tags: News, Antony Blinken, Afghanistan, Congress

Original Author: Matthew Miller

Original Location: Republican chides Blinken for not testifying in person about Afghanistan

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