In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Thursday, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) blasted President Joe Biden and his chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, lamenting the recent decline of America and deeming the president “cognitively impaired” and/or “purposely harming the country,” while urging moderate Democrats to follow his lead and join the Republicans to hold this administration responsible.
The Republican congressman began with harsh words for the current administration.
“I am so tired of being disgusted with what is going on in our country in general, but with this administration, with this Congress, it’s been mistake after mistake,” he said.
“There’s nothing at all in what they do that reminds me of American exceptionalism or Americanism, and the same here,” he added. “The America I know is strong and powerful and brave, courageous and smart.”
Regarding the U.S.’s current reliance on the terrorist Taliban for the safety of Americans seeking to leave Afghanistan, Van Drew slammed the “completely terrible and totally nonfunctional plan” employed by the Biden administration during the recent disastrous withdrawal from the country.
“Right from the beginning, literally, you could have a number of cadets that are studying a little bit about military warfare put together a better exit plan,” he said.
Blasting the president’s “terrible job” and the resulting loss of life, he noted that “we did it even at the wrong time of the year.”
“There is no cogent argument for evacuating and exiting the country the way that we are and the way that we did,” he said.
He then presented a more stable and orderly evacuation plan.
“Evacuate your men and women, Americans first, Afghanis next — the Afghanis that were loyal to us and work with us. And then, you would make sure you destroy all of our equipment that was there — some of it very advanced, such as our Blackhawks,” he said.
“They have more Blackhawks now than most countries do in the world,” Van Drew lamented.
“And then finally, drawdown the troops,” he added. “That’s not really complicated. That basically is military 101 and they couldn’t even do that right.”
He then criticized Biden’s method of requiring the U.S. to “rely on a terrorist organization that has perpetrated unbelievable [and] unconditional amounts of evil upon the world and upon their own country in Afghanistan which is the Taliban.”
“Of course ISIS is bad too — they all are,” he said before blasting the reliance of “the greatest country ever on the face of the earth” on the Taliban to maintain borders and lead Americans in evacuating the country.
“To trust them with this level of trust — it’s just so painful, hurtful, and ill-conceived,” he said, adding that a general informed him of cooperation with the Taliban to ensure safe conduct for Americans stranded behind enemy lines in Afghanistan.
“So if we’re doing that, I guess anything is possible,” he added.
He, again, criticized the abandonment of sophisticated American weaponry in Afghanistan that has reached the Taliban’s hands.
“We are leaving some of the most powerful military equipment in the world over there. The Chinese are already reverse engineering this equipment,” he said.
“Just how stupid can we be? How off the mark can we be?” he asked.
In wake of the ill-prepared evacuation of Americans from Afghanistan, Van Drew called on the president and other leading members of the Democratic Party to resign.
“I’ve already asked the president to resign in the past number of days, as well as the vice president, and some of the leaders in the party,” he said.
“Of course I know he’s not going to, but I want to make it clear how I and many many Americans feel,” he added.
He also claims to have asked the president to undergo a cognitive test “because either this president is cognitively impaired or he’s purposely harming the country, or both.”
“This is just something like we’ve never really seen before,” he added.
Referring to a briefing in which the congressman had just attended, Van Drew described being “sick” at the responses he received.
“For a United States general to say that we are relying upon the Taliban to shepherd us, to keep us safe, to be strong for us made me sick and it makes me sick for the very brave men and women who died or were injured,” he said.
Biden Administration Disappointments:
Van Drew continued by describing the current era in bleak terms.
“We’re in a tough time right now,” he lamented. “These are dark days for America.”
“I believe that America will ultimately prevail, but expecting me to put people in a really good mood now would be a disservice,” he added.
He then began highlighting the serious failures of this administration.
“When we look at what’s happening with legislation, our debt, spending, our culture, and how we’re losing our Americanism and exceptionalism, what’s happening internationally and how weak we’ve gotten, what’s happening with our supply chain and our energy productions and our police and crime and inflation,” he said, “and with all this, thinking this was not going on less than a year ago.”
“How could one group mess up so much so quickly?” he asked.
He continued describing America’s hasty decline.
“Nobody would ever think it could happen so fast. It was a perfect storm of stuff and, quite frankly, even those of us that were worried about a lot of these things,” he said.
“Let’s be honest, none of us quite knew how much was happening so quickly, so everything collapsed so quickly,” he added. “It’s like when a nation falls, and I’m just believing and hoping — I really do — there are still so many good Americans, so many people that worry about this.”
Van Drew also described receiving heartbreaking phone calls in recent times.
“When you’ve got Navy Seals on the phone who saw action in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places and they’re crying — people really love their country and the service they do, they’re willing to die for it,” he said.
“And then we’re doing what we’re doing,” he lamented.
Asked about the United States losing its preeminent stabilizing status, Van Drew warned of complacency.
“If we are not careful, absolutely, that could happen and that is what I worry about so much because I believe in a strong America. I believe in America that’s number one; I believe in the America that was the great republic, the greatest republic ever established on the face of the earth,” he said.
“And we are on the precipice of losing all of it, particularly because — and I am not being partisan, I am just telling the truth — of what this administration is doing,” he added. “If we are not careful, that is what will happen to us and there’s nobody to replace us.”
Claiming “there is no other country like us” and never has been, Van Drew stated his hope was that “this is finally going to hit Americans on the head, causing them to say, ‘My God, this is something we can’t tolerate. We cannot forget; we must remember who we are and what we represent, and we’re not going to let this happen.’”
“We’re going to see over the next few years whether we’re going one way or the other,” he added. “It’s not over yet, but we’re going to have to fight to keep it.”
Call to Democratic Moderates:
Asked what his message would be to a potential Democrat willing to stand up and join Republicans at this time in order to tip the balance of power and hold the Biden administration accountable, Van Drew offered such a willing figure a “real place” in history.
“My message to such a moderate Democrat is that they would have the ability to make, not only for themselves but for all of us, a real place in history,” he said, adding that there aren’t many moderates left.
Van Drew, who defected from the Democrat Party in 2019 due to its direction, then described his personal experience standing up to his party.
“I was let known both locally and in Washington that my life was going to be hell,” he said.
“Everything from ‘you’re going to go through a primary’ to ‘you’re not going to have money’ … and frankly, I was already at the point where I felt that I just couldn’t do this anymore,” he added.
He also recalled the difficulty in doing so and saying to his then-chief of staff that he could no longer continue.
“I do not believe in what they are doing,” he told him. “I do not believe in the way we’re changing our education system, the way we don’t have a supply chain, the way we’re dropping our position and energy.”
“That’s not an administration I want to be part of and it’s not part of a party I want to be part of,” he added. “I want American greatness.”
Van Drew then described the ultimate pride he takes in his decision.
“I’m proud of what I did,” he said. “From what we know in history, I’m the only person to ever go to the minority party. People have flipped their political designation, but they’ve never gone from the majority party to the minority party.”
“I am still much happier because I believe in what I’m saying and what I’m doing,” he added.
Van Drew then accused the current administration of preoccupation with relatively trivial issues in place of dealing with more important ones.
“The Biden administration is too worried about pronouns and nouns, and teaching kids in middle school about anal and oral sex, and they’re too worried about every other issue other than the issues of strength and stability,” he said.
He then presented two scenarios whereby the damage done by the current administration could be rectified.
“Either some Democrats that are moderate, which there are very few, have to step forward and say, ‘this is more important than the politics of the day; this is about the future of freedom in the world,’” he said. “And they have to believe that, and if they don’t believe it [or] don’t know it, they should sit down and do a lot of reading.”
“Secondly, if that doesn’t happen, next year, we are going to have an election, and I’m hopeful that in that election there will be a Republican victory in the House and in the Senate. And at least we’ll have a firewall because the president won’t be able to do more stuff without approval of these two houses,” he continued.
“And then at least we can slow it down and it’s not going to be perfect. Two years after that, we would get a new president,” he added. “Is that longer than I like? Yes. Are there going to be problems in that period of time? Absolutely. But those are the choices we have right now.”
Message of Hope:
Asked what his message to those vets who fought in Afghanistan and see what is unfolding there now, Van Drew offered hope.
“Keep the faith,” he said. “I believe that this nation is so great, that through the hurt that we’re experiencing and through the tears of those parents who are going to get those messages about those Marines and that Navy medic — and God knows who else — that those tears are going to literally baptize all of us into believing and understanding again how great America is.”
“We can’t give this up,” he added.
Continuing his message of hope, he then expressed gratitude for those who sacrificed for America.
“I want the soldiers to know that their service, their strength, their honor does not go unnoticed and that there are many — millions — that pray for them, that so many respect them and their sacrifice. And my message to them is not to give up and not to give up on America,” he continued.
“We’ve got an envelope of time here; we have to use it,” he added. “We have to prevail.”
According to Van Drew, in order for Republicans to succeed, they must be “smarter, faster, and better.”
“Not all Republicans are perfect, nobody is,” he said, “but I hope that God gives us the strength to rise to the occasion because this is bigger than Republican, Democrat, whatever.”
He then cautioned taking American liberty for granted, using history as an example:
This is about what Benjamin Franklin said: “Ladies and gentleman, I give you a republic if you can keep it.” What he meant was: these are real smart folks, and they understood that in a couple hundred years most nations fall. And it’s because first they’re fighting for freedom, they become free and then because they become free, they succeed and they do well, and you live in a land of plenty, generally, in most of these countries historically. And then because of that, you become spoiled and you become sometimes kind of stupid too and you don’t realize what you have and then you start to deteriorate.
They knew that, and they knew that they had given us this noble experiment like none other because this was better than all those other countries, and so they hoped that we would prevail, and I still hope that we will, myself, and that’s what we’re going to find out.
When people suggest everybody “move to the political middle,” Van Drew explains why that is no longer plausible.
“There is no middle,” he says, “or what’s the middle now is the left, and what’s the left now is socialist and Marxist. So I don’t know how you move to the ‘middle.’”
Instead, he expressed his hope that others follow his lead in doing the right thing.
“I just do what I think is right and has common sense to it and, hopefully, everybody else will as well,” he said.
Addressing concerns over many Afghan refugees that have been unvetted haphazardly coming out of the country, Van Drew drew comparisons to the situation at the southern border.
“Look what’s going on the southern border,” he said. “We seized enough fentanyl that could have killed every man, woman, and child in this country, ten times over.”
“We’re allowing individuals with disease and COVID to come in and not checking them thoroughly, yet if somebody forgets to wear their mask for five minutes, they could get a fine,” he added.
He claimed that the current administration will not do the job it should, though adding that “most of these Afghanis are very loyal and good people and we do have to take care of people.”
“Some of these women know no other way of life other than driving and educating, and some of them are physicians now. We’ve been there so long, they’ve been Americanized and they’re so much happier and they want to get over here, so it’s not that I don’t think we should bring these people who are dedicated to being on our side because if they stay there, they are going to be raped, tortured, or murdered in time, without question,” he said.
He explained that although “we have to bring them over,” simultaneously, “there’s going to be people mixed in with them because our exit plan wasn’t done properly.”
“Will there be people that come over that shouldn’t? Yes, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have people come over. It simply means it has to be done the right way,” he said, adding that the current influx is unrealistic.
“We can’t take this number of people this quickly, and we have to abide by the rule of law,” he said. “The rule of law doesn’t even matter anymore?”
“America was always a country of the rule of law; it is what separates us from those that are not civilized,” he added.
Biden vs. Trump Administrations:
Contrasting with the current administration’s failures, Van Drew praised the accomplishments of former President Donald Trump and his administration’s projection of strength.
“Trump achieved the Abraham peace accords and made sure that Korea, China, Russia, and Iran understood what American power meant and that we weren’t kidding around,” he said.
“He also made sure that we were there for our allies but not to take advantage of us,” he added.
Van Drew described the current administration as one that causes our allies in their hearts to worry “because they don’t have the superpower next to them anymore.”
“People, whether they be South Koreans or those that are in Taiwan, whether it be good people in other countries around the world, are now wondering whether they are going to be protected or whether we will walk away from them,” he said.
“So you can understand what stage of our development as a nation pretty much are we — we’re going to find out,” he added.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.