President Biden is facing heavy criticism over his nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Iraq on Monday, with opponents pointing to her failures in Afghanistan.
The nominee, Tracey Jacobson, oversaw the program that was supposed to allow Afghan allies to evacuate from Afghanistan as the Taliban took over the country in 2021. The program was a massive failure, however, and stranded thousands of allies in the country under Taliban rule, with many of them being killed.
“The nomination of Tracey Jacobson as the new ambassador to Iraq raises serious concerns, given her involvement in the 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal. Jacobson failed to ensure promised visas for thousands of allies, leaving them vulnerable to persecution by the Taliban,” Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla., said in a statement.
“This gross pattern of shortcomings adds to a growing list of concerns about America’s international standing and national security with people like Jacobson in charge. With the regional instability and potential for Iraq to see increased Iranian military attacks, and further political discourse, I fear under her leadership, and this administration, we would see a similar outcome to Afghanistan,” he added.
Biden told the American people in August 2021 that he was placing Jacobson “in charge of a whole-of-government effort to process, transport, and relocate Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants and other Afghan allies.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that will vote on Jacobson’s nomination, has already signaled his skepticism of her fitness for the role.
“Tracey Jacobson played a central role in one of the most unforgivable of those failures, the abandonment of vetted Afghans who had risked their lives for our security, and it will undoubtedly mar and endanger her nomination,” Cruz told the Free Press in a statement.
A State Department spokesman praised Jacobson’s leadership and her role in overseeing the Afghanistan program in a statement to the Free Press.
“Ambassador Jacobson is proud of the Afghanistan task force she led from mid-July to mid-August 2021, which created streamlined processes from bringing SIV applicants to the United States. As a result of her work and the work of others, we have been able to issue nearly 38,000 SIVs to principal applicants and their eligible family members since January 2021,” spokesman Vedant Patel said.
“The work is not complete and the Department will continue to demonstrate its commitment to the brave Afghans who stood side-by-side with the United States. The Department has also taken a number of steps to improve the SIV program, including continuing to streamline the application and adjudication process,” he added.
Biden announced Jacobson’s nomination in a statement last week. It is unclear when the Senate will vote on the nomination.
Fox News’ Gillian Turner contributed to this report