Fact check: Schumer says all Americans who wanted out of Afghanistan 'have come out'

Posted September 8, 2021 4:52 p.m. EDT
Updated September 10, 2021 4:43 p.m. EDT

Critics of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pounced on a remark by the senator that suggested that every American who wanted to leave Afghanistan has already done so.

Schumer made his comments on Sept. 3, during an interview with WSYR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Syracuse, N.Y. Schumer was discussing the rushed evacuations from Afghanistan after the U.S.-backed Afghan government and military fell to the Taliban.

"There'll be a job for congressional oversight — there always is," Schumer said. "But at the moment, actually, I'm still focused on trying to get some of those brave Afghans out. The Americans — all of whom have wanted to come out have come out, praise God. But there are a lot of Afghans who risked their lives for our soldiers and others. Many got out, some didn't. And I'm still working on trying to get some of them out.

The comment by Schumer that prompted criticism was that all Americans in Afghanistan who "have wanted to come out have come out."

Schumer was wrong.

On Sept. 7, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that there are still "somewhere around 100" American citizens who want to leave Afghanistan.

Blinken was speaking from a news conference in Doha, Qatar, and he said the U.S. was working on additional flights to evacuate people from Afghanistan.

On Sept. 6, U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, said four U.S. citizens from his district "were part of the first successful ground evacuation since the U.S. left Kabul."

Meanwhile, the current count of Afghans who want to leave but haven’t been able to evacuate yet is uncertain. However, as of late August, there were an estimated 250,000, according to estimates by nonprofits cited by the New York Times.

Schumer’s office acknowledged his mistake.

"He misspoke and he regrets the confusion his comments have caused," Schumer’s office said in a statement to PolitiFact. "He intended to say, as he has been saying, that the U.S. will get everyone out that wants to get out. And he will keep working with the Biden administration to help everyone who wants to get out."

PolitiFact ruling

PolitiFact: False

Schumer said that among Americans in Afghanistan, "all" who "have wanted to come out have come out."

That’s incorrect; the State Department has acknowledged that there are still "somewhere around 100" American citizens who want to leave Afghanistan.

Schumer’s office later said that he had misspoken. We rate the statement False.

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