Former President Donald Trump warned in a speech Thursday that President Biden had made America more vulnerable to its enemies, including by withdrawing US troops from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, which Trump said he would have kept in order to monitor China’s nuclear program.
“China no longer respects us, Iran no longer fears us, and with their monstrous invasion of Ukraine, Russia showed just how weak they think our leaders are,” Trump said at a Heritage Foundation event in Florida. “They would never have done that under the Trump administration. Never, not even a possibility.”
“This is the most dangerous period in the history of our country right now,” he said.
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Trump noted that he, too, planned to withdraw from Afghanistan, but he said the way Biden carried out the withdrawal left America “humiliated.”
“Our nation has been humiliated in Afghanistan, where we had soldiers killed, left American hostages behind and left… American military hardware,” the former president said. “We surrendered.”
He noted that during an 18-month span, no American soldiers died in combat against the Taliban.
Trump also claimed that he would have kept the US presence in Bagram Air Base, formerly the largest US military base in Afghanistan. He claimed that the base, just north of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, is relatively close to the location China uses to make its nuclear weapons.
“The reason we’re keeping Bagram is because of China,” the former president said. “It’s one hour away from where China makes its nuclear weapons because billions and billions of dollars to build many years ago and right now it looks to me like China is going to end up owning and operating Bagram. We fled, left the lights on late at night, and we fled. And they did leave all the dogs behind. “
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Trump said the botched Afghanistan withdrawal highlights Biden’s weak leadership on the world stage, and he claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine he was still in office.
“Russia took Georgia under President Bush. They took Crimea under President Obama. They took nothing under me, nothing,” Trump said. “And I took our troops, by the way, out of Syria, and Iraq, and was just months away from getting out of Afghanistan. I’m the one that brought it down to two thousand soldiers.”
While Trump said he would have withdrawn US troops, he had planned to leave with “great dignity and great strength.”
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“We were all set to leave. We were going to leave with dignity, great dignity and great strength,” he said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the potential threat of China invading Taiwan.