House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday spoke out against Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) traveling to Kabul on Tuesday, saying this diverted resources amid efforts to get Americans and at-risk Afghans out of Afghanistan.
"It's not just about them going to Afghanistan, but in going to the region, because there's a call on our resources diplomatically, politically, militarily in the region as well, so this is deadly serious," Pelosi told reporters. She said the congressmen were supposed to get approval from committee chairs before traveling, and Moulton never received authorization from the Democratic side. "The point is that we don't want anybody to think this was a good idea and that they should try to follow suit," Pelosi added.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said later on Wednesday that he didn't think it was "right" that Moulton and Meijer went to Kabul, but he can understand "their frustration of why they would want to go. ... They realize it's life and death so yes, they made a decision to try to do something on their own." He also said he's explained to other members of Congress who want to fly to Kabul that "I think it creates a greater risk ... you take military away from doing their job of getting as many Americans out as we can."
A spokesman for Moulton told The Washington Post on Tuesday that the congressmen, both veterans who served in Iraq, were in Kabul for less than 24 hours, and flew out on a plane that had extra room. After their trip made headlines, Pelosi sent a letter reminding members of Congress that the State Department and Defense Department have asked lawmakers to stay away from Afghanistan, as their presence "would unnecessarily divert needed resources from the priority mission of safely and expeditiously evacuating Americans and Afghans at risk from Afghanistan."