President Trump’s decision to pull American troops out of northern Syria, opening the region up to a Turkish invasion and a potential slaughter of US-allied Kurdish forces, has come under fire from his own party.
The White House announced that it will begin withdrawing troops from the region, paving the way for what the White House called a “long-planned” Turkish operation. The Pentagon later issued a statement saying they would not support such an operation.
Democrats condemned Trump for betraying Kurdish forces, who fought alongside US troops in Iraq and Syria, and opening them up to potential slaughter by a longtime enemy.
Trump claimed that he would “try” to protect Kurds but added, "The Kurds are natural enemies [with Turkey], they’ve been fighting for hundreds of years. We interject ourselves into wars, and tribal wars, and revolution, they’re not the kind of things you settle the way you want to settle.”
GOP joins Dems in condemning betrayal of Kurdish allies:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats slammed Trump for “deserting an ally in a foolish attempt to appease an authoritarian strongman.” Unlike past Trump scandals, Republicans slammed his decision too.
“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Monday. “And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”
Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also slammed the move.
“So sad. So dangerous,” he said on Twitter. “President Trump may be tired of fighting radical Islam. They are NOT tired of fighting us.”
Nikki Haley, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, said the move would leave Kurdish allies “to die.”
"We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend," she wrote.
Brett McGurk, Trump’s former envoy for the fight against the Islamic State, said after the decision that Trump “is not a Commander-in-Chief.”
“He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation,” he wrote. “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.”
Trump threatens to “obliterate” Turkish economy:
Since the backlash ensued, Trump has insisted that he would “destroy” Turkey’s economy if they did anything he opposed, though he did not specify what that would be.
“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” he wrote. “They must, with Europe and others, watch over 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!”
A day later, Trump praised Turkey as a “very good” NATO ally and “Trading partner.”