Republican lawmakers and commentators are outraged about President Donald Trump, and they’re not keeping quiet about it.
But they’re not sounding off about the Ukraine scandal, which has all-but-guaranteed that Trump will be impeached by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. They’re furious about Syria and Turkey.
Late Sunday night, the White House announced that it would be removing American troops from northern Syria just as Turkey planned to launch an offensive in the region. In essence, the United States is leaving the Kurds who occupy the region to be attacked by Turkey, despite the fact that they have long been American allies who have been crucial in the fight against ISIS. And reports indicate that the Kurds are already facing an onslaught as the “humanitarian catastrophe” unfolds.
This is exactly as critics of the president’s move predicted. Among these critics are many of the president’s usual allies. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a leading Republican in the House and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has repeatedly aligned herself with Trump, but she spoke up against Trump in scathing terms:
Withdrawing US forces from Northern Syria is a catastrophic mistake that puts our gains against ISIS at risk and threatens US security.
This decision ignores lesson of 9/11. Terrorists thousands of miles away can and will use their safe-havens to launch attacks against America.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) October 7, 2019
Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, too, ordinarily defends the president — but he decried Trump’s move as a “foreign policy blunder” and said it should be reversed. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has humiliated himself by becoming a close and obsequious Trump ally, repeatedly beseeched the president to reconsider. He said the Kurds had been “shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration.”
And it wasn’t just lawmakers. Allies outside government were deeply critical of Trump’s decision:
When Trump does what he’s done to the Kurds, I’m really having a hard time seeing how a Democrat could be worse. He’s not just betrayed an ally, but he’s made it possible for ISIS to regroup in the process.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) October 9, 2019
The Kurds are the ones who have been leading the fight against ISIS in Syria. Also pray for the Christians who the Kurds have been protecting. They could be annihilated. Would you pray w/me that Pres. @realDonaldTrump will reconsider? Thousands of lives hang in the balance. 2/2
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) October 9, 2019
And, of course, it wasn’t just Republicans or conservatives criticizing Trump — outrage about his decision was ubiquitous across party lines because the calamity facing the Kurds is genuinely horrifying:
This is not a case of sending American troops there. They are already there and Trump is withdrawing them, giving the Turkish Army permission to invade.
Kurdish fighters have fought and died in our joint effort to eliminate ISIS. They should not be abandoned in this way.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 9, 2019
The bipartisan outrage deepens the mystery behind the decision. Why would Trump do something that was guaranteed to not only be a humanitarian disaster but also alienate nearly everyone in Washington? Especially when, as everyone knows, the only thing keeping him in the White House — and potentially out of prison — is the support of Senate Republicans.
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