Megyn to State Dept. Spox: Why Was Embassy Evacuation So Hasty?
Megyn Kelly tonight pressed State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki over this week’s evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Yemen.
Yesterday, the Marine Corps confirmed that crew served weapons were destroyed at the embassy, and Marines’ personal weapons were “rendered inoperable” at the airport. Houthi rebels also seized embassy vehicles after diplomats left.
“Why was the evacuation from the embassy so hasty when we knew things were deteriorating for weeks now?” Kelly asked, remarking that clearly something didn’t go according to plan.
Psaki insisted that the evacuation wasn’t hasty.
“We’ve been planning for weeks a range of contingency options,” she said.
Kelly questioned why Marines weren’t allowed to bring their guns on planes and asked who ordered Marines to disarm.
Psaki explained that Marines followed the proper protocol to disassemble weapons. She said the order was not given by the State Department or ambassador, but did not say who told Marines to disarm.
Psaki admitted that Houthis taking control of U.S. vehicles was not part of the plan.
Kelly asked: Do we have control of our policy in the Middle East, and does this reflect a lack of American leadership?
Psaki said that this evacuation was not about American leadership, but rather about the situation on the ground, which she described as “too volatile.”
“It appears that the policy we pursued in connection with the Arab Spring from December 2010 forward has failed, at a minimum is in the midst of failing,” Kelly remarked, noting that the U.S. has had to pull out of Libya, Syria and Yemen.
“It seems very clear that American influence in that region is diminishing while that of Iran is on the rise,” Kelly said.
Psaki said that the U.S. has to look at each country individually. She said that the U.S. is working to see how it can get Libya to a more stable place, while Syria is in the middle of a civil war. She added that the U.S. plans to return to Yemen, since the Houthis have said they’re non-threatening to America.
“They have ‘death to America’ – literally – written on their signs!” Kelly fired back.
The State Department spokesperson also discussed the ISIS situation, explaining that the U.S. has been able to push back ISIS in Iraq. Additionally, she said the nation has taken out more than 200 refineries and has killed ISIS leaders, but she noted a lot more work will be needed to get the job done.
Kelly also asked Psaki about a Jerusalem Post op-ed, which alleged that the Obama administration is interfering with the Israeli elections. OneVoice, a group which once received grant money from the State Department, is now reportedly behind the effort to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Kelly asked: Should the State Department ask for its money back?
Psaki said that the grant ended at the end of November before the Israeli elections were even called.
“We have no involvement in the Israeli elections, we don’t plan to have any involvement, but certainly we continue to support a two-state solution and we support the work they did last year in supporting that effort,” Psaki said.
Watch more above.