Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) lambasted President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria on Monday, less than an hour after the president confirmed his decision to pull forces back in the face of a potential Turkish invasion of northern Syria.
Graham stipulated on Twitter that he “don’t know all the details” and was setting up a call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to learn more, but nevertheless criticized the administration for what he views as a shortsighted decision.
Graham continued to attack the White House during a Monday morning appearance on Fox & Friends for being “irresponsible” in its treatment of Kurdish allies.
“This impulsive decision by the president has undone all the gains we’ve made, thrown the region into further chaos, Iran is licking their chops, and if I’m an ISIS fighter, I’ve got a second lease on life,” Graham said. “To those who think ISIS has been defeated, you will soon see, and to Turkey you have destroyed the relationship, what little you had with the U.S. Congress, and I will do everything I can to sanction Turkey’s military and their economy if they step one foot into Syria.”
“I like President Trump, and I’ve tried to help him,” he added. “This to me is just unnerving to its core. To say to the American people that ISIS has been destroyed in Syria is not true.”
The South Carolina senator has long been a defender of the Kurds as key allies in the fight against ISIS. In December 2018, Graham tweeted his displeasure at the potential Syrian withdrawal, saying “America’s worst nightmare is to have reliable allies like the Kurds who have fought so bravely against ISIS – abandoned and destroyed.”
On Monday morning, Trump took to Twitter to proactively defend the decision, stating that the U.S. had destroyed “100% of the ISIS Caliphate” and that “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.”