The Senate’s top Republican says he’s not headed to a White House meeting Wednesday with recommendations on how to deal with the Iraq situation, but that the crisis bolsters the argument that U.S. troops are still needed in Afghanistan.
McConnell, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will head to the White House to meet with President Obama “as part of his ongoing consultations with congressional leadership on foreign policy issues, including the situation in Iraq,” according to a White House official.
“I’m anxious to see what plan he may have, given where we are, but it certainly underscores the significance of the president reversing the decision he previously indicated he had made for us to leave Afghanistan entirely,” McConnell said Tuesday. “We know that if we don’t leave behind a deployment that the military recommended in Afghanistan, roughly 10,000 troops, for counterterrorism purposes and training purposes, we’re likely to see the same kind of meltdown in Afghanistan that we’ve seen in Iraq.”
Hawkish Republicans have been quick to cast blame for the crisis in Iraq squarely on the Obama administration for agreeing in 2011 to withdraw American troops.
The winding down of America’s war in Afghanistan will take place over the next two years. Nearly 10,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of this year, but that force will be reduced by half by the end of 2015. The plan now is that by the end of Obama’s term, the U.S. presence in Afghanistan will resemble that of Iraq, with normal embassy operations and a security assistance office in the capital city.
The White House has already announced it’s dispatching up to 275 military personnel to protect the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Some lawmakers have expressed concern that Congress should be consulted ahead of any military action.
When asked if the president needs congressional approval for military air strikes, Reid said, “In my opinion, I don’t think they need any any more authority than they already have to do what they need to do.”
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At the end of the debate, moderator Lester Holt asked Donald Trump if he stands by his statement that Hillary Clinton didn't have the look of a president. Trump responded by saying Holt misquoted him, instead saying that Clinton "doesn't have the stamina." Clinton responded by saying that when Trump visits 112 countries as secretary of state, he can talk to her about stamina.
Donald Trump, when pressed by Lester Holt on why he finally admitted that President Obama was born in America, repeated his widely debunked claim that it was started by Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton went point by point on how race can so often determine the treatment that people receive, mentioning recent shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, calling for restored trust between communities and police, and demanding criminal justice reform. Trump responded by calling for law and order and touting his endorsements from police unions. He then said that “African Americans are living in hell,” saying they are just walking down the street and getting “shot ... being decimated by crime."
Just as Hillary Clinton was inviting debate viewers to visit her site for real-time fact checking, there appeared to be a problem with Donald Trump's own campaign website. For about a 15-minute period, a blank page or an error message appeared when we tried to load the Trump site.
Donald Trump has come out in the first segment of this debate raring to go. Trump has interrupted nearly every answer being given by Hillary Clinton, talking over her time and again. Clinton is sticking to her guns, smiling while Trump speaks and then calling on people to go to her website and see the fact checking being done.