While appearing on Fox News' "The Kelly File" Thursday, former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow, the team leader the night Bowe Bergdahl initially disappeared, and five former platoon mates, said the Obama administration "spit in the face" of everyone in the military when national security adviser Susan Rice said Bergdahl served "with honor and distinction."
“He is going to be safely reunited with his family. He served the United States with honor and distinction. And we’ll have the opportunity eventually to learn what has transpired in the past years, but what’s most important now is his health and well being, that he have the opportunity to recover in peace and security and be reunited with his family. Which is why this is such a joyous day,” Rice told ABC News.
Bergdahl's fellow soldiers, however, took issue with that.
"He walked away in the middle of Afghanistan on the farthest front lines you could be on to go seek out the Taliban," Buetow said.
"Do you feel that was an affront to you, that to say his service was with honor and..." Kelly began.
"Saying that’s honorable. Saying that walking away, whatever his agenda was with trying to connect with the Taliban, explain to me how that’s honorable? I mean that’s spitting in the face to everyone who deployed, came back, and," Buetow said, when another soldier added: "Not even every one in this company but every single one in the military."
Buetow also told Kelly he "had to leave the room" when Obama announced the prisoner exchange that secured Bergdahl's release.
In recent days, the administration has attacked Bergdahl's fellow soldiers, calling them "unreliable" and accusing them of "swift-boating" Bergdahl. On Thursday, we reported that an administration official smeared the soldiers as "psychopaths."
"Here's the thing about Bergdahl and the Jump-to-Conclusions mats: What if his platoon was long on psychopaths and short on leadership?" Brandon Friedman, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, asked on Twitter. He later issued what Twitchy called a "non-apology."
“I unfortunately used my own poor judgment in choosing inappropriate language that many view as disparaging to U.S. service members," he said.
The administration, meanwhile, has adopted the standard "phony scandal" defense, claiming that criticism of the prisoner exchange is nothing more than "political noise in Washington."
“I think that there has been a lot of noise in Washington, much of it political, about this,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Thursday, echoing comments made by Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, a report came out Thursday saying that Bergdahl converted to Islam and declared himself a mujahid, a soldier of Islam.