Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed U.S. (R-TN-07), Rep. Mark Green, to the newsmaker line to revisit Monday’s testimony via Zoom call by Secretary of State Antony Blinken who attributed part of the Afghanistan debacle to former President Trump.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by our very good friend, Congressman Mark Green. Good morning, Congressman Green.
Green: Hey, brother. How are you?
Leahy: A very weird day yesterday in testimony, Secretary of State Blinken testifed before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that you’re on, but he didn’t have the courtesy to show up in person. It was a Zoom thing. That was weird.
Green: Yeah. To be honest, I think the chairman of the committee gave him a pass and said, oh, you don’t need to be in person. I would be there, of course, regardless. But, yeah, I think that was a miscommunication between Chairman Meeks and the secretary.
Leahy: I think it’s pretty bad form, in my view. You pushed them pretty hard on Afghanistan. Tell us what you learned from Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday.
Green: Well, you know, I think the thing that just frustrated me was this continual, we did everything right. And all of the badness was either Donald Trump or the poor Afghans who just threw up their arms and quit.
The truth of the matter is there were multiple failures by this administration, and I just went through them, bam, bam, bam. If they’re sitting there blaming the intelligence community for failure to get them good information on the Taliban’s abilities or the Afghan army’s inabilities, I think they work for the administration.
So it’s an admission albeit at defense, but it’s an admission that they fail. So I just hammered him and things like that and the fact that we had hundreds, literally hundreds of people, and they would call us and say I’m at the gate.
I’m at the gate. I’m an American citizen. Get me in. Nothing would happen. We called the State DOD and they tried. I have some relationships with guys inside that perimeter, and I’d call those guys and they go, okay, we’ll get over to the gate and let them in.
And probably save, personally, my team 200 people that way. But, yeah, it was laughable that he would sit there and suggest that they had no fault in this.
Leahy: Yeah, exactly. What’s going on with your Republican colleague from Illinois, this Adam Kinzinger fellow? I guess he was one of the 10 Republicans who voted in the second time to impeach former President Trump.
He said, “The Trump administration failed in the setup and the Biden administration failed in the execution.” Why is he making a statement like that to sort of defending the Biden maladministration?
Green: I think Adam Kinzinger hates Donald Trump. And so we kind of hate Adam Kinzinger. (Chuckles)
Leahy: (Laughs) That’s a good line.
Green: He’s a Union Republican. He thinks that Congress ought to operate as a union. He was all upset that we were protesting, this internal inside baseball. But we were protesting the five minutes.
We wanted to do three minutes so that every person and every congressman would get a say. And he was one of the few voices that said, no. I served in this committee for years and never got to say. And I’m like, well, that sounds like Union thinking to me.
And I’m sorry we’re not supporting that. Blinken wound up saying, okay, I’ll stay so that everybody gets to say, but usually they don’t.
Leahy: So how do you prepare for, like, three minutes of questioning? What’s your approach to it when you get your opportunity to pose these questions via Zoom to Secretary of State Blinken?
Green: I flew up here just for it. And I wound up getting nine minutes because Tim Burchett, my good buddy from Knoxville used one minute of his five minutes and he gave me four. But you just go through what are the things that you think are important?
You listen to all the other testimony because by the time it gets to me, I’m junior on that committee, and it doesn’t matter your years in Congress matter, it’s your years in the committee. I only got into that committee this cycle.
So I’m listening to everyone else checking things off the list. And then they get to me, and I’m literally writing and rewriting my questions as I hear people and hear him respond.
And my second block yesterday was pretty much all response. And I must admit, my wife sent me, hey, what about this? (Chuckles) About ten minutes before I went on. I’m like, that’s brilliant, honey. (Chuckles)
Leahy: But you responded in real-time. Mark Green, thanks so much for joining us today. We really appreciate it coming studio again soon.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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