President Trump had no business hosting Taliban leaders at Camp David on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday.
Trump canceled the planned weekend peace talks over a Taliban attack in Kabul last week that killed 12 people, including an American service member.
Schumer said the talks were bound to fall apart — and he questioned why the Trump administration’s negotiations to date have excluded the Afghan government, including Afghan President Ahraf Ghani.
“For the U.S. to meet with the Taliban and not have the leader of Afghanistan [for talks] … that is doomed to failure,” said Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader.
Schumer also wondered why no one in Trump’s cabinet, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, seems able to give the president good advice.
“When Trump takes over, things get messed up,” Schumer said.
“Where are the Pompeos that say you have to do this [include the Afghans in talks] before you move forward?” he said. “But we know what’s happening. Trump wants to do something. No one tells him no. And inevitably, like in North Korea and like in Europe, it gets messed up.”
Trump also took heat Sunday from Republicans over the planned talks.
“Camp David is where America’s leaders met to plan our response after al-Qaida, supported by the Taliban, killed 3000 Americans on 9/11,” tweeted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), whose father, Vice President Dick Cheney, helped plan the U.S. response to the attacks.
“No member of the Taliban should set foot there. Ever,” said Cheney, a top-ranking Republican House member. She added Trump was right to cancel the meeting.
Trump’s planned meeting with Ghani and Taliban leaders at Camp David would have come on the eve of the Sept. 11 anniversary, which is Wednesday.
As the rulers of Afghanistan in 2001, the Taliban harbored 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and his al Qaida henchmen. That led to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan later that year.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Trump’s planned Camp David summit “ill-conceived … It’s another example of the Trump administration foreign policy, which is a high-wire act.”
“I don’t know how you bring the perpetrators or the ones that gave refuge to the perpetrators of September 11th — as we approach the 18th anniversary — to Camp David when they are in the midst of conducting attacks which created the death of an American,“ Menendez said Sunday.
Pompeo defended Trump’s plan on Sunday TV.
The president “believed we could further America’s national interest by having conversations with the people who have the capacity to actually deliver,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The Taliban said in a widely-reported statement Sunday that Trump’s decision to cancel the meeting “would not harm anyone else bu the Americans themselves.”
U.S. talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the 18-year Afghanistan war have stopped for now, Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday.