Republicans in Washington on Monday slammed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria, making way for a planned Turkish invasion of the region.
The White House, which announced the troop reduction late Sunday night, was met with swift backlash from lawmakers typically who typically back the president, all of whom agreed that the troop removal would lead to Turkish forces mercilessly slaughtering America’s Kurdish allies in the region.
“The most probable outcome of this impulsive decision is to ensure Iran’s domination of Syria,” Graham said. “The U.S. now has no leverage and Syria will eventually become a nightmare for Israel. I feel very bad for the Americans and allies who have sacrificed to destroy the ISIS Caliphate because this decision virtually reassures the reemergence of ISIS. So sad. So dangerous.”
Graham also said the decision will make the other countries think twice before trusting the U.S. as an ally.
“Finally, this decision makes it difficult for the U.S. to recruit allies against radical Islam,” he wrote. “By abandoning the Kurds we have sent the most dangerous signal possible – America is an unreliable ally and it’s just a matter of time before China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea act out in dangerous ways.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) characterized the decision as a “grave mistake” that would only strengthen U.S. enemies overseas.
If reports about US retreat in #Syria are accurate, the Trump administration has made a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 7, 2019
“If reports about US retreat in Syria are accurate, the Trump administration has made a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria,” he wrote. “It would confirm Iran’s view of this administration & embolden then to escalate hostile attacks which in turn could trigger much broader & more dangerous regional war,” Rubio added.
Similarly, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley essentially said Trump’s decision amounted to abandoning our allies.
“We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she wrote on Twitter. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend,” she wrote.
But the most vicious attack on the president came from Brett McGurk, Barack Obama’s and Trump’s former envoy to the global coalition to counter ISIS. He said Trump’s “impulsive” decision was “a gift” to America’s enemies.
“Donald Trump is not a Commander-in-Chief,” McGurk wrote early Monday. “He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation. He sends military personnel into harm’s way with no backing. He blusters and then leaves our allies exposed when adversaries call his bluff or he confronts a hard phone call.”
McGurk, who tendered his resignation to the White House in concert with former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, also said Trump’s decision illustrates his naiveté in dealing with foreign affairs.
“The [White House’s] statement tonight on Syria after Trump spoke with Erdogan demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of anything happening on the ground. The United States is not holding any ISIS detainees. They are all being held by the SDF (the Kurdish militia), which Trump just served up to Turkey,” McGurk wrote.
“Turkey has neither the intent, desire, nor capacity to manage 60k detainees in al Hol camp, which State and DoD IGs warn is the nucleus for a resurgent ISIS. Believing otherwise is a reckless gamble with our national security,” he said, adding, “Bottom line: Trump tonight after one call with a foreign leader provided a gift to Russia, Iran, and ISIS.”
Here’s what Trump had to say about all of this.
….the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
[image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]