“As we head into the anniversary of 9/11, I do not ever want to see these terrorists step foot on United States soil. Period,” Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on “Newsroom.”
Waltz’s comments come one day after Trump tweeted that he invited Taliban leaders to Camp David for secret peace talks this weekend but canceled the meeting after the Taliban took credit for an attack in Kabul that killed a dozen people, including an American soldier. Trump has long sought to withdraw the US from its longest war, but his revelation on Saturday night that he was considering holding talks with the Taliban at Camp David — a storied retreat where presidents have famously secured peace accords — was striking, especially coming so close to the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Waltz said Sunday that among his top concerns over Trump’s invitation was the Taliban “declaring this a victory.”
“The Taliban have shown zero desire for peace. There’s no ceasefire that they’ve agreed to. In fact, they’ve ramped up their attacks. We talked about the American soldier that just came home this morning in a coffin,” he said.
“So I just have a lot of concerns. I’m urging the President to walk away from this deal as it stands,” he added.
Along with Waltz, Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger also publicly criticized the talks, with Kinzinger tweeting that Taliban leaders should “NEVER” be “allowed in our great country.”
When pressed by CNN’s Jake Tapper earlier Sunday over criticism of the invitation to host Taliban leaders just days from the 9/11 anniversary, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo only offered that the US has “made real progress” toward peace talks.
“It’s not just about commitments. We have to see them be able to deliver it. We have to have proof that it’s delivered. When we get to that point, when American national security interests can be protected I am confident President Trump will continue the process of trying to get what he has talked about since his campaign — a reduction of our risk level and the cost to the American people both in terms of life and treasure there in Afghanistan.”
Pompeo added that the US is still interested in striking a peace deal with the Taliban but won’t move forward until there is proof that the Taliban can deliver on its commitments under a potential agreement.