U.S. Army veteran, former NFL player and Arkansas Senate primary candidate Jake Bequette said it is “shocking” to him that the Biden administration and Democrats have “tried to move on” from the “crisis” in Afghanistan, slamming officials for “attempting to legitimize a murderous regime.”
Bequette, during an interview with Fox News, reacted to the news that the State Department’s inspector general launched “several oversight projects” related to the end of U.S. military and diplomatic missions in Afghanistan.
“What happened in Afghanistan was a disgrace and a debacle,” Bequette said. “It is shocking to me that Democrats and the Biden administration and the mainstream media have tried to move on from this crisis when there are still American citizens trapped there.”
Bequette went on to criticize the administration, saying they are “attempting to legitimize” the Taliban, which he called a “murderous regime.”
The Biden administration has described its interactions with the Taliban as “businesslike” and “professional.”
Bequette enlisted in the U.S. Army in August 2017. Bequette said he completed Army Ranger school in October 2018 and became part of the 101st Airborne Division deployed to Iraq.
“As an Army veteran, active duty, and someone who had friends serve in the last days of our presence at the Kabul airport, it is a shock to me,” Bequette said. “It is a shock to the entire country.”
The inspector general reviews will focus on the State Department’s Special Immigrant Visa program, Afghans processed for refugee admission into the U.S., resettlement of refugees and visa recipients, and the emergency evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, according to an Oct. 15 memo to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which was first reported by Politico and confirmed by Fox News.
Other inspectors general offices, including those at the Department of Defense, and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, are also reportedly considering the launch of similar probes of the withdrawal.
Bequette criticized the administration’s withdrawal, and its diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan, saying it has “hurt the prestige of this country on the international stage.”
“This is about much more than Afghanistan and the Middle East – China is watching. Russia is watching. North Korea, Iran – when they see weakness coming from the American commander in chief, it emboldens them,” Bequette said.
Bequette went on to take a swipe at his opponent – incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman – saying “the people of Arkansas want their leaders to stand up and lead from the front – draw a line in the sand, and demand accountability.”
“Not just from the Biden administration,” he said. “But also by invisible establishment Republicans.”
Bequette said there is a “stark contrast” between himself and Boozman, saying he is “not a career politician.”
“I am not working on my third decade in Washington, D.C.,” the 32-year-old candidate told Fox News. “I am an outsider.”
Bequette said he comes from a “sports, military and leadership background,” and vowed to “always stand up for the issues the people of Arkansas truly care about,” noting they include “national security and the effectiveness of our military.”
“They understand the existential threat posed by American weakness abroad,” Bequette said.
As for his campaign, the primary against Boozman is in May 2022 – and with seven months to go, Bequette said he and his campaign have been “blown away by the amount of support we’ve had.”
“People are excited to see a young, bold, conservative veteran speaking the language of voters and standing up for Arkansas values,” Bequette said, adding that people are “energized.”
“People are waking up to the fact that we have to fight against the radical left agenda at all levels of government,” Bequette said. “We’re going to take this country back, but it is going to take great leadership to do so.”
He added: “God willing, I’ll be part of the effort to lead that fight.”