EXCLUSIVE: A senior Republican on the House committees for Intelligence and Armed Services is arguing that the Biden administration’s foreign policy decisions led to the deaths of three U.S. troops in Jordan last month, and that thousands more could be “at risk.”
Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., suggested to Fox News Digital that he believes President Biden’s military response to Houthi rebels in the Red Sea is the right response, but one that came too late.
Asked whether he sees a direct cause-and-effect between the delayed response and the recent U.S. service member deaths, Austin said firmly, “I do.”
“I don’t understand why anyone would think that they would ever stop firing at you if there were not consequences for firing at you the first time,” Scott said. “They’re not simply going to stop because they had decided, ‘We’re going to be good people now.’ They’re only going to stop when their actions lead to punishment… that if they do this again, we’re going to punish them again.”
The Pentagon blamed Iran-backed militants for a drone attack on U.S. troops stationed in Jordan near its border with Syria. At least 34 American soldiers were wounded in addition to the three that were killed.
U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Syria have been attacked at least 150 times since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants invaded Israel and slaughtered more than 1,200 people in a surprise attack. Iran-backed Houthi rebels have also staged dozens of attacks in the Red Sea on commercial and military ships in what they say is a response to Israel and its support from the U.S.
Biden has since responded with several rounds of airstrikes beginning Jan. 11, in coordination with the U.K. and other allies, on Houthi positions in Yemen. On Friday, the U.S. launched strikes on targets in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for the soldiers’ deaths.
Scott praised those who conducted the strikes on Friday. “I applaud the bravery and skill of [U.S. Central Command], who carried out multiple airstrikes against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups today. Those who strike against the U.S. will face consequences,” he said.
But he argued to Fox News Digital that Biden’s failure to respond to the initial attacks earlier sent a message of weakness to U.S. adversaries.
“I’m very pessimistic about his inaction putting America, and Americans, at risk. And let’s remember, you know, we have people in Africa, we have people deployed all over the world. Part of their safety there is because it is understood that if you attack a United States soldier, there are consequences for that,” Scott said.
“Every president of the United States of America – Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George Bush – if you carry out an attack against a United States soldier, or a United States military asset, there are consequences for that,” Scott said.
“This is the first time that I remember where someone’s been able to shoot us 100 plus times and us not respond. And so I think that that action obviously put people at risk. You can’t, you just can’t do that. You’re putting every American that’s deployed at risk when you allow people to take shots at your people without responding.”
Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Friday took part in the dignified transfer of the remains of the three service members killed – Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, Spc. Kennedy Landon Sanders, 24, and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23 – all of whom were from Georgia.
Fox News Digital has reached out to the White House for a response to Scott’s criticism.