United States Sen. Tom Cotton pressed military leaders during a hearing on Tuesday regarding whether anyone advised President Joe Biden to leave a military presence in Afghanistan following the withdrawal last month.
Cotton asked Gen. Milley if his testimony is that he recommended 2,500 troops remain in Afghanistan. Milley said he wouldn’t share his personal recommendations to the President, but his personal opinion and assessment were to keep 2,500-3,500 troops in Afghanistan.
Milley said once again he doesn’t share what his advice to the President was, but noted he was “always candid.”
General McKenzie shared the assessment, but wouldn’t say if he presented the opinion to Biden.
Secretay of Defense Lloyd Austin was asked if no military leader advised him to leave a small troop presence in Afghanistan.
“Uh, Sen. Cotton, I uh, I believe that uh, well, first of all, I know the President to be an honest and forthright man,” Austin said.
Cotton cut him off and asked if no senior military leader advised him to leave a small military presence behind.
“Their input was received by the President and considered by the President for sure,” Austin said. “In terms of what they specifically recommended, Senator, last hey just said, they’re not going to provide what they recommended in confidence.”
Cotton said it is “shocking” to him that their best military advice was never presented personally to the President of the United States.