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'The scoldings mean nothing': Bipartisan lawmakers are not sorry for making secret Afghanistan trip

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The two congressmen who made a secret, unauthorized trip to Afghanistan to survey the U.S. military's evacuation efforts are unapologetic for their decision, despite criticism from the Biden administration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and several of their colleagues in Congress.

"I don't care one bit about anonymous quotes from Washington when I'm saving the lives of our allies," Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) told the Boston Globe in an interview Tuesday, responding to his critics.

Speaking to the newspaper from Doha, Qatar, where Afghan refugees are being transported to a U.S. airbase for processing, Moulton said that he decided to go to Kabul in person a week ago after trying to assist in the evacuation of four Afghan families via text messages and phone calls. Only one of the families was able to flee the country.

He had previously sought official permission to visit Afghanistan several times in recent months, but was denied by the Biden administration. So, Moulton, a Marine veteran, and Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), an Army veteran, decided to go on their own and see for themselves what was happening on the ground.

"I got several, not just families, but groups through the gates," Moulton told the Globe. "It's amazing that people think this is about politics when it's about innocent lives and saving people who have given everything to us from torture and death. Every single person that we can get through the gates who is one of our allies, that is the difference between freedom and death."

The bipartisan duo were attacked from all sides for making the unauthorized visit. Anonymous Biden administration officials blasted the lawmakers in the pages of the Washington Post for creating "a distraction for military and civilian staffers attempting to carry out frenzied rescue efforts."

One senior administration official said the trip was "as moronic as it is selfish."

Pelosi also condemned the lawmakers, accusing them of draining "our resources diplomatically, politically, militarily."

"The point is that we don't want anybody to think this was a good idea and that they should try to follow suit," she told reporters Wednesday.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) offered softer criticism, but agreed that they shouldn't have gone to Afghanistan.

"I don't think it's right that they went, but I understand their frustration of why they would want to go. ... They realize it's life and death, so yes, they made a decision to try to do something on their own," McCarthy said.

"Any member that I've heard that might go, I explain to them that I don't think they should, I think it creates a greater risk ... you take military away from doing their job of getting as many Americans out as we can," he added.

Confronted with what Biden officials and others were saying on Fox News Wednesday, Meijer dismissed the criticism.

"The opprobrium from from the Defense Department, from the White House, from the State Department is frankly laughable. Right now they have done everything they can to obstruct the situation, to deny this reality, and, frankly, to hide facts from the American people," he told Bret Baier during an interview.

Moulton agreed in his interview with the Globe.

"The scoldings mean nothing when we're saving a few lives," he said.

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