Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley called on President Joe Biden to explain discrepancies revealed by his top military advisers, and chastised Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley for speaking with authors and journalists.
Haley spoke to Fox News on Tuesday after Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and head of U.S. Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the U.S. troops withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Senate hearing, intended to clear up whether or not Biden was advised to stick with his hard timeline of withdrawal, produced more questions than answers.
“I think we heard from our generals about what transpired. The person we need to hear from is the president of the United States,” Haley told Fox News.
“I mean, this even caused more questions I think for President Biden, which are: You said none of your military said anything to you about keeping forces on the ground, about keeping Bagram Air Base … you said you couldn’t recall it. Well, clearly your generals said they did tell you.”
Milley and McKenzie told senators that their personal recommendations were to keep a 2,500-strong force in Afghanistan, but added they would not disclose publicly their recommendations they gave Biden.
“So, we need an answer [from Biden],” Haley said on Fox News. “We need the truth on that because you already lied once on that. Then you said that the Afghan military could stand on their own. The generals countered that again and told him the risk he was taking by doing that. That is not the case.”
Although Biden has said al-Qaida was gone from Afghanistan, the three military officials disagreed with the president’s assessment.
“All of [Biden’s] generals said al-Qaida is very much in Afghanistan and oh, by the way, when the Taliban took over, they let out all of those al-Qaida prisoners that are now throughout Afghanistan,” Haley said. “There’s so many questions.
“[Biden] said that they wouldn’t leave any Americans behind. [He] left Americans behind. So I think we heard some hard truths from the generals.”
Milley admitted to the committee that he spoke to several authors who have written books about former President Donald Trump’s administration and the 2020 election.
Haley said Milley’s actions were “the most unprofessional thing.”
“Even as a cabinet member, you don’t talk to someone writing a book – you don’t talk to journalists about books or any of that. That is political,” the former South Carolina governor said.
“But in the military? They’re so conscious about not politicizing what they do. The idea that he would sit down and do these tell-all books just boggles the mind. I know my husband: He can’t take a picture in uniform – you have to be careful about when journalists you talk to, what you say. I can’t imagine that General Milley didn’t know that. I have to think he has a lot of regrets right now.”