WASHINGTON (AP)–President Donald Trump is casting his decision to abandon Kurdish fighters in Syria as fulfilling a campaign promise to withdraw from “endless war” in the Middle East.
But Republican critics and others say he is sacrificing a U.S. ally and undermining American credibility.
Trump has declared U.S. troops will step aside for an expected Turkish attack on the Kurds, who have fought alongside Americans for years. But he has also threatened to destroy the Turks’ economy if they go too far.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina calls Trump’s action a “shot in the arm to the bad guys.”
Pentagon and State Department officials are holding out the possibility of persuading Turkey to abandon its expected invasion.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is opposing President Donald Trump’s plan. It’s a rare policy split between the Senate’s top Republican and Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also against Trump’s decision. But the California Democrat is using far stronger language than McConnell.
McConnell says an early U.S. withdrawal “would only benefit Russia, Iran” and Syrian President Bashar Assad, who’s waged an eight-year civil war against Syrian opposition forces. The Kentucky Republican says it would make it easier for ISIS to rebuild. McConnell says U.S. interests are not well served by “retreat or withdrawal.”
Pelosi says a withdrawal is “reckless” and would “betray” Kurds who have helped fight ISIS. She calls it “a foolish attempt to appease an authoritarian strongman” — a seeming reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.