2020 Democratic primary presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar lambasted President Trump’s handling of the canceled talks between the Taliban and Afghan leaders, saying the current Oval Office occupant treats “foreign policy like some kind of game show.”
Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota and one of the 10 Democratic hopefuls to make the cut for Thursday’s debate, said Sunday during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she spent much of Sunday trying to parse out what Trump meant with his tweet about the canceled talks.
“It is another example of the president treating foreign policy like some kind of game show. It’s not a game show, these are terrorists,” Klobuchar said. “Like so many leaders, I spent last night trying to figure out the meaning on the president’s tweet.
She added: “To me this is just no way to conduct foreign policy.”
Trump said Saturday in a tweet that he canceled a secret weekend meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders after a bombing in the past week in Kabul that killed 12 people, including an American soldier, and has called off peace negotiations with the insurgent group.
Trump’s tweet was surprising because it would mean that the president was ready to host members of the Taliban at the presidential retreat in Maryland just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. More than 2,400 U.S. troops have been killed since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to go after the Taliban, which were harboring Al Qaeda leaders responsible for 9/11.
Canceling the talks also goes against Trump’s pledge to withdraw the remaining 13,000 to 14,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan and shut down U.S. involvement in the conflict that is closing in on 18 years.
On Thursday, a Taliban car bomb exploded and killed an American soldier, a Romanian service member and 10 civilians in a busy diplomatic area near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The bombing was one of many attacks by the Taliban in recent days during U.S.-Taliban talks.
The Defense Department says Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, 34, from Morovis, Puerto Rico, was killed in action when the explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was the fourth U.S. service member killed in the past two weeks in Afghanistan.
“What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn’t, they only made it worse!” Trump tweeted. “If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway. How many more decades are they willing to fight?”
It remains unclear if the U.S.-Taliban talks are over or only paused. Trump said he called off the peace negotiations after the bombing, but Zalmay Khalilzad, the Trump administration’s diplomat talking to the Taliban, was meeting with leaders of the insurgent group in Doha, Qatar, on both Thursday and Friday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the Trump administration has recalled Khalilzad and it will be up to the insurgent group whether talks will resume.
“They tried to use terror to improve their negotiating position,” said Pompeo, who appeared on five Sunday TV talk shows. “The Taliban overreached.”
Pompeo said the agreement in principle that had been negotiated with the Taliban included their commitment to break with Al Qaeda. The Taliban harbored Al Qaeda before that group conducted the 9/11 attacks against the United States.
“And then the Taliban failed to live up to a series of commitments that they had made, and when that happened President Trump said, ‘I’m not going to take that deal. I’m not going to work with someone that can’t deliver on their commitments,'” Pompeo said.
The Afghan government says it doesn’t believe talks between the United States and Taliban will continue “at this stage.” Taliban said Americans would be the ones who suffer from Trump’s cancellation of the talks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.