On Tuesday, CNN's John Avlon laid into President Donald Trump for his lies about Syria — lies which, he noted, have a terrible human cost.
"War and peace. Life and death," said Avlon. "And that’s the power of the presidency. And that’s what we’re seeing in Syria right now. Where President Trump’s impulsive order to remove U.S. troops after a call with Turkey’s autocrat is causing chaos and slaughter. And it’s given an anticipated victory to four American adversaries, Russia, Iran, the Syrian government and Islamic State."
"Who could have seen this coming? Basically anyone who was paying attention, except, apparently, President Trump," continued Avlon. "And so, faced with the real-time consequences of his actions, he’s defaulting to his comfort zone: A pattern of disinformation."
"Trump’s initial tweet storm may have gotten the faithful, but not so much his former special envoy on ISIS, Brett McGurk, who tweeted, 'Mr. President, with all due respect, none of this is true,'" continued Avlon. "'None of this is true' might sound a bit like a blanket statement, kind of harsh, but let’s break it down. He claimed U.S. troops were supposed to be in Syria for just 30 days. Well, because video exists, let’s go back to the 2015 White House press conference."
"We’ve been quite candid about the fact that this is not a short-term proposition," said then-Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "I don’t have a specific date to give you when they will come out."
"Got that? No timeline. Okay," said Avlon. "Well, how about President Trump’s statement the U.S. defeated 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate, including capturing thousands of ISIS fighters, mostly from Europe. To start with, most of the captured ISIS fighters are from Iraq and Syria, not Europe. That’s a big no. And while it’s true almost 100 percent has been recaptured, there are still thousands of ISIS fighters on the ground. Don’t believe me? Ask Sen. Lindsey Graham."
"The biggest lie being told by the administration that ISIS is defeated," said Graham in the clip.
"Not sure it’s the biggest lie, but how about this statement from Trump on Thursday," continued Avlon.
"We have no soldiers in Syria," said Trump in the clip. "We’ve won. We beat ISIS and we beat them badly and decisively. We have no soldiers."
"Well, that wasn’t true. The Pentagon confirmed the U.S. still had about 1,000 troops in Syria as of last month. Over the weekend, Secretary of Defense announced the president ordered him to remove all troops from Syria. So U.S. policy again shifted around the president’s impulses which brings me to another line from the president. That the troops needed to leave or could end up stuck in the crossfire. They pulled troops from a border relatively stable until late last week."
"Finally, in a classic arsonist turn, President Trump has pulled the move on sanctions," said Avlon. "With apologies to 'Cool Hand Luke', what we have here is failure to communicate. Not just between the president and military advisers or between the U.S. and our allies but between the people and their president because we saw this past week, while the Kurds die, the president lies. And that’s your reality check."