In a rather bizarre attempt to deflect criticism of President Joe Biden’s inept handling of the withdrawal effort in Afghanistan, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan lied about former President Trump’s dealings with Afghan allies. During a Monday press briefing, Sullivan deceptively claimed the previous administration did not process any Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) for Afghans who assisted the U.S. military since March 2020.
During the conference, Sullivan said:
When we took office in January, the Trump administration had not processed a single Special Immigrant Visa since March of 2020 — in nearly a year.
But apparently, the national security advisor was banking on the chance that people wouldn’t dig further into the matter because this statement is total fiction. The Daily Caller reported:
While no Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants were interviewed at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul from March 2020 through the end of the Trump administration due to COVID-19, quarterly reports from the State Department show that thousands of Afghan SIV applications were processed and issued in that timeframe.
During the three-month period between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, before the Biden administration took office, 1,321 Afghan SIVs were issued, according to a State Department quarterly report on the program. The Chief of Mission (COM) Committee decided to approve or deny at least 3,273 Afghan SIV applicants during these three months, the report shows.
The Daily Caller also notes that between April 1 and September 31, 2020, the State Department issued 286 SIVs to Afghan allies.
Sullivan was also being deceptive when he claimed that the Biden administration managed to trim “months and months and months” off of the SIV process. When Trump was in office, the 14-step process could take over two years to complete. However, what the national security advisor failed to mention is that part of the process includes in-person interviews at the embassy.
However, during the last 10 months of the Trump administration, these interviews were not conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the State Department noted that the visa process in consulates all across the world was delayed due to temporary suspensions.
Sullivan’s false claim is yet another way to deflect from what people are truly focused on: The Biden administration’s horrific handling of the situation in Afghanistan. He was trying to cast Trump as a president who was indifferent to the plight of Afghans when the truth is that it is Biden who appears to be leaving our allies high and dry. Unfortunately for them, this particular ploy is not likely to work.