Aides whisk Beto O’Rourke away as veteran questions him on Afghanistan policy

March 23, 2019

Aides whisk Beto O’Rourke away as veteran questions him on Afghanistan policy 1082492116 /

2020 presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke ran into an awkward situation on the campaign trail Friday.

After declaring that he would bring troops home, the former representative and failed senatorial candidate from Texas found himself being grilled by an Afghanistan veteran on the logistics. Dissatisfied with O’Rourke’s vague answers, the man kept asking for details until one of O’Rourke’s aides finally whisked him away.

The nearly 2-minute incident was captured on video:

Foreign Policy: O’Rourke versus Afghan Vet

The exchange took place at a campaign event on Friday in Charleston, South Carolina, where O’Rourke told the self-proclaimed military veteran that should he become president, he would pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

“You have the humility of understanding that, as powerful as we are, we cannot determine the internal affairs of other countries,” he said, as a bodyguard separated the two men. “The country is no better today, 18 years afterward.”

“Right,” the veteran interjected. “But how are you going to get us out of there?”

“You bring the service members back,” O’Rourke said, but the veteran was not going to let him get off that easily.

All talk, no plan

“I understand that,” the man responded. “I served there. It’s not as easy as just ‘time to go home.’ What’s your plan for getting us out and not leaving the country the s***show it is.”

Over the next minute, it became clear that O’Rourke had no answer to the man’s question. Instead, he talked about why he would bring the troops home.

“I think the longer we stay, the longer we persist in any foreign policy that has no expectation of succeeding,” he said. “And as hard as that is for us to swallow as Americans, it is in some way accepting that we are not going to achieve every goal we have in that country.”

Finally, an aide stepped in to get O’Rourke out of there.

As a presidential contender, O’Rourke has already been criticized for his vague platform and lack of specific policy goals.

O’Rourke in South Carolina

This encounter took place on the first of two days that O’Rourke is spending in South Carolina, which holds the first primary election in the South. So far, he has managed to draw sizeable crowds.

Rather than foreign affairs, his main emphasis has been on the achievements of the civil rights movement.


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Robert Ayers

Robert Ayers is a writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Quinnipiac University and a JD from the University of Connecticut.