President Donald Trump is relying upon Republican senators voting to acquit him in an expected impeachment trial, but his decision to abandon America’s Kurdish allies in Syria have opened a major rift between the White House and Capitol Hill Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) revealed the extent of fissure by writing a scorching op-ed against Trump — and having it published in The Washington Post.
“Withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake. It will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances,” McConnell charged.
The Senate leader even likened Trump to Barack Obama — which is a harsh comparison in GOP circles.
“Sadly, the recently announced pullout risks repeating the Obama administration’s reckless withdrawal from Iraq, which facilitated the rise of the Islamic State in the first place,” McConnell wrote.
McConnell, who has been nicknamed “Moscow Mitch” for his record on Russia, noted the “nightmare of Trump help Vladimir Putin.
“The combination of a U.S. pullback and the escalating Turkish-Kurdish hostilities is creating a strategic nightmare for our country. Even if the five-day cease-fire announced Thursday holds, events of the past week have set back the United States’ campaign against the Islamic State and other terrorists. Unless halted, our retreat will invite the brutal Assad regime in Syria and its Iranian backers to expand their influence. And we are ignoring Russia’s efforts to leverage its increasingly dominant position in Syria to amass power and influence throughout the Middle East and beyond,” McConnell explained.
At a Thursday evening campaign rally in Texas, Trump argued that congressional Republicans “are all happy” with his capitulation to Turkey.
Vice President Pence phoned Sen. McConnell last night on his way back from Ankara. It doesn't appear that conversation satisfied the majority leader, given this op-ed. https://t.co/jzihY6Osi6
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 18, 2019