- The Washington Times
Tuesday, August 16, 2022

DENVER — A Republican video released on the first anniversary of the bungled U.S. exit from Afghanistan rips Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet for his support of the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw.

Republican Senate nominee Joe O’Dea posted a video Monday showing footage of the chaotic U.S. evacuation along with Mr. Bennet saying that he thought the administration made “the right decision.”

“One year ago President Biden prematurely withdrew all American troops from Afghanistan — one of the worst American foreign policy debacles in modern history. And Michael Bennet holds firm that Biden made the right decision,” Mr. O’Dea said in a statement.

The video ends with photos of Mr. Bennet alongside Mr. Biden with the message: “Michael Bennet/Party Over Country.”

Mr. O’Dea, a first-time candidate who founded and runs a Denver construction company, called on Mr. Bennet to demand the full release of the Pentagon’s after-action report.

“I hope Bennet does not place Biden’s political interests ahead of what’s best for our nation,” Mr. O’Dea said.

SEE ALSO: Biden, Trump trade blame on anniversary of Afghanistan collapse

Mr. Bennet, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told the Colorado Sun in an Aug. 13, 2021, interview that he supported the withdrawal, a few days before the Taliban overran the capital and thousands of Afghans descended on the Kabul airport to seek escape.

“I believe that he made the right decision,” Mr. Bennet said. “It was a difficult decision. It’s important to understand what the facts really are, which is that we were losing.”

Days later, Mr. Bennet urged the Biden administration to “safely and quickly evacuate U.S. citizens and our Afghan allies, who have sacrificed everything to advance our mission and protect our troops.”

Thirteen U.S. troops and an estimated 170 Afghan civilians were killed in an Aug. 26 terrorist attack on the airport during the evacuation, an assault that Mr. Bennet called “reprehensible.”

The Washington Times reached out to the Bennet campaign for comment.

Mr. Bennet, 57, is seeking a third term against Mr. O’Dea, who won the June 28 primary despite a $4 million Democratic ad campaign intended to boost Republican state Sen. Ron Hanks,  a candidate viewed as more conservative and therefore less electable.

Mr. O’Dea, 60, dropped out of Colorado State University to start a construction company focused on heavy civil-service projects that now employs 300 people. He and his wife also run two Denver event venues.

A McLaughlin & Associates poll conducted July 24-26 showed Mr. Bennet leading the race by 48%-40% in blue-state Colorado.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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