The conservative criticism of the prisoner swap that led to the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl over the weekend has extended to the rescued soldier’s father.
It didn’t take long for some on the right to scrutinize Bob Bergdahl, the Idaho man who grew an unkempt beard as a show of solidarity during his son’s five years of captivity in Afghanistan.
The suspicion toward the elder Bergdahl stems from the criticism surrounding his son’s mysterious disappearance. Some soldiers who served alongside Bowe Bergdahl consider him a deserter and have said that lives were lost in the subsequent manhunt. Bowe Bergdahl’s stated misgivings with the military’s actions have only deepened the suspicion of his disappearance.
In a tweet written days before the soldier’s release, according to conservative news sites, Bob Bergdahl said he is “working to free all Guantanamo prisoners” and that “God will repay for the death of every Afghan child.” He reportedly deleted it on Saturday after it was announced that his son was released in exchange for five Taliban detainees held at the detention facility, but not before it was preserved by conservatives.
Michelle Malkin’s team at Twitchy posted a screenshot as well as right-wing reactions to the tweet. Former tea party Congressman Allen West questioned whether the deleted tweet represents a “smoking gun.”
“Folks, this is either a very bad case of Stockholm Syndrome or something far more nefarious is at stake,” West wrote. “Regardless, there is more to this than meets the eye of Obama making a unilateral decision and announcement on a Saturday — when he believes no one is watching.”
Bob Bergdahl has also come in for criticism for another tweet written in March in which he said that democracy is a “cult in the West.”
At a press conference on Sunday alongside his wife, Jani, he also raised eyebrows among some conservatives. The Twitchy team highlighted one particular moment when Bergdahl compared Afghanistan to his hometown of Hailey, Idaho.
Republicans and conservatives were aghast and a little confused.
Omg RT @ShannonBream: Bergdahl’s dad says of Hailey, Idaho – “We’re so much like Afghanistan”
— Ellen Carmichael (@ellencarmichael) June 2, 2014
“@ShannonBream: Bergdahl’s dad says of Hailey, Idaho – “We’re so much like Afghanistan”” weirdo
— Dee Dee Benkie (@deedeegop) June 1, 2014
?? RT @ShannonBream: Bergdahl’s dad says of Hailey, Idaho – “We’re so much like Afghanistan”
— Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) June 1, 2014
What wasn’t clear from the partial quote was that Bergdahl made the observation after he praised fellow Idahoans for their support.
“And we’re so much like Afghanistan. I wish I could write a book about that,” he said. “Our character is a lot alike. The mountain, desert environment breeds tough people, people who know how to farm here and make a living. And it’s hard. But it makes you tough. If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you tougher. And we’re just so appreciative of the people in Idaho.”
Fox News also gave coverage to the press conference and deleted tweet. On “Fox & Friends First” on Monday, host Clayton Kelly said the “actions of Bergdahl’s father is also raising some questions,” pointing out that he “praised Allah” as he spoke in Pashto, “the language of the Taliban.” Kelly noted that Bergdahl “related the family’s ordeal to the Afghan people.”
Over at The Blaze, Glenn Beck and company questioned another moment in the press conference, when a teary-eyed Bob Bergdahl told his son that he’s “proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people, and what you were willing to do to go to that length.”
Beck wondered if it was an oblique endorsement of Sgt. Bergdahl’s alleged desertion.