Republican governor welcomes Afghan refugees disparaged as a "scourge" by right-wing media

Progressive voices re-affirmed their commitment, while the right went in a frenzy over the prospects of migrants

By Zachary Petrizzo
Published August 18, 2021 12:23PM (EDT)
Nooria, 35, decided to leave after the fighting in Kunduz arrived in her home, when a rocket landed in her house and injured her son in his leg and might now require amputation, according to doctors that spoke to her, after she took her entire family and fled to a makeshift camp for displaced Afghans fleeing the fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan Security Forces at Hasa-e-Awal Park, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Getty Images/Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times)
Nooria, 35, decided to leave after the fighting in Kunduz arrived in her home, when a rocket landed in her house and injured her son in his leg and might now require amputation, according to doctors that spoke to her, after she took her entire family and fled to a makeshift camp for displaced Afghans fleeing the fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan Security Forces at Hasa-e-Awal Park, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Getty Images/Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times)

Amid the fallout from the Taliban taking control of Kabul, conservatives have quickly moved to demonize the Afghan refugees fleeing their country in fear. But at least one Republican governor says his state is willing and ready to help them. 

"We are eager to continue that practice and assist with the resettlement of individuals and families fleeing Afghanistan, especially those who valiantly helped U.S. troops, diplomats, journalists, and other civilians over the past 20 years," Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, said in a Tuesday letter to President Biden. Cox's support comes amid an avalanche of right-wing pushback against the notion that refugees from the country be resettled in the U.S. 

On Sunday afternoon, those seeking the last-ditch opportunity to escape Afghanistan swamped the tarmac at the airport in the capital city of Kabul, even going as far as to toss their bodies onto the side of a C-17 U.S. military plane to escape, only to be flung off the side during takeoff. While the likes of President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., both reaffirmed their commitment to supporting Afghan refugees, to the tune of $500 million in the case of the Biden administration, right-wingers immediately attacked the refugees. 

Fox News host Tucker Carlson declared on Monday night, in a bad faith attempt to scare his audience, that the United States will accept "millions" of Afghan refugees who would start living "in your neighborhood."

The fearmongering Fox News host added: "It caused revolts, but officials kept doing it, they kept pushing radical gender politics anyway, because they could, because they were in charge of these Stone Age people they were going to educate"

Fellow Fox News host Laura Ingraham echoed Carlson's remarks. "Is it really our responsibility to welcome thousands of potentially un-vetted refugees from Afghanistan?" she rhetorically asked. "All day we heard phrases like 'we promised them.' Well, who did? Did you?"

Pro-Trump pundit Charlie Kirk took a similar approach, proudly stating that President Joe Biden "wants a couple hundred thousand more Ilhan Omars to come into America to change the body politic permanently" stemming from the Taliban takeover. "Were playing checkers and their playing chess," the Carlson-like clone riffed. 

Steve Cortes, a Newsmax host and former Trump 2020 adviser, incorrectly identified Afghans as "hordes of Afghanis" before indiscriminately blasting people as "a scourge."

Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon insisted that Afghan migrants "go there," referring to other countries and not the United States.  

Other blue-check mark conservative voices sounded off, including Pizzagate conspiracy theorist turned Human Events editor Jack Posobiec, who tweeted, "The US has allies and bases throughout the Middle East. There is no need to airlift tens of thousands of unvetted refugees all the way to the homeland. It would be a national security disaster waiting to happen."

"Wait until they start demanding that we now open our borders to Afghan refugees," right-wing firebrand Candace Owens stated

One America News host Natalie Harp joined the chorus, asking on her Monday program: "What's the vetting process? How do we know who these people are? How do we have any guarantee that we're not simply paying for a first-class ticket to resettle certain radical Islamic terrorists right next door? No, seriously, how do we know?"

Additionally, in a Monday statement, Trump, who remains the ringleader of TrumpWorld and those who regurgitate to his every last word, appeared to signal support for the idea that the United States should be accepting Afghan refugees. 

"Can anyone even imagine taking out our Military before evacuating civilians and others who have been good to our Country and who should be allowed to seek refuge? In addition, these people left topflight and highly sophisticated equipment. Who can believe such incompetence?" Trump stated. "Under my Administration, all civilians and equipment would have been removed."

As for the Biden administration, they have not only pledged an additional $500 million in finical backing to aid in the relocation of Afghan refugees, but further, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday that they would seek to relocate 30,000 Afghan migrants through the use of the Special Immigrant Visa program. 


Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo is an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo. Send him tips: zpetrizzo@salon.com

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