'The Right Call': Members of Congress React to Trump's Remarks on Ongoing US Involvement in Afghanistan - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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'The Right Call': Members of Congress React to Trump's Remarks on Ongoing US Involvement in Afghanistan

Sen. Tim Kaine said U.S. officials should make certain that "what happens in Afghanistan stays in Afghanistan"

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    President Trump addressed members of the military and the country as he laid out his plans for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

    (Published Monday, Aug. 21, 2017)

    In an address to the nation Monday night, President Donald Trump laid out an updated approach to the U.S. military's actions in Afghanistan and South Asia.

    Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle reacted swiftly, with some calling for a broader and more inclusive discussion with lawmakers, and with the American people, about the U.S.'s continued involvement in Afghanistan.

    Some lawmakers issued statements Monday afternoon before Trump delivered the first prime-time address of his presidency. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said in a statement it’s a "terrible idea" to send any more American troops to Afghanistan.

    Paul said the mission in Afghanistan "has lost its purpose."

    He also said he wants Congress to more aggressively assert its war-making powers. Paul is planning to propose an amendment next month to the annual defense policy bill that would repeal the war authorizations that Congress granted after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Paul says if the White House and Congress "want to continue the war in Afghanistan, then at the very least Congress should vote on it."

    Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., also preemptively released a response to Trump’s announcements. Kaine says the U.S. needs to "make sure that Afghanistan is not a breeding ground for things that can come back and hurt us."

    Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, Kaine was asked what is at stake in the war-torn nation, where the U.S. is in its 16th year of involvement.

    "I think the answer is we want to be invested, to put it bluntly," said Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said U.S. officials should make certain that "what happens in Afghanistan stays in Afghanistan."

    Kaine says the country needs a discussion of "the continuing rationale" for being in Afghanistan.

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., commended the president's strategy for Afghanistan, and he said Trump must start conducting himself as a "wartime commander in chief." McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that while the plan is long overdue, it moves the U.S. well past the Obama administration's "failed strategy of merely postponing defeat" in Afghanistan.

    The senator added that he urges the president to speak regularly "to the American people, and to those waging this war on their behalf, about why we are fighting, why the additional sacrifices are worth it, and how we will succeed."

    Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers issued measured responses via social media during and after Trump's address.


    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke earlier Monday with key officials from Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan and India, to discuss how the U.S. can work with the countries on a new regional strategy to stabilize South Asia.