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Graham: ‘Obama-like Mistake’ for Trump to Pull Troops From Syria

Senators Lindsey Graham (R, S.C.) and Bob Menendez (D, N.J.) hold a news conference on the death of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., December 12, 2018. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Senator Lindsey Graham on Wednesday said the White House’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria would be a “huge Obama-like mistake.”

“If these media reports are true, it will be an Obama-like mistake made by the Trump Administration,” Graham said in a statement. “While American patience in confronting radical Islam may wane, the radical Islamists’ passion to kill Americans and our allies never wavers.”

Reports earlier Wednesday indicated that Trump ordered the military to remove 2,000 troops from Syria.

The White House later confirmed the decision in a statement.

“Five years ago, ISIS was a very powerful and dangerous force in the Middle East, and now the United States has defeated the territorial caliphate. These victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign. We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“With all due respect, ISIS is not defeated in Syria, Iraq, and after just returning from visiting there — certainly not Afghanistan,” Graham responded, also on Twitter.

The senator, who sits on the Armed Services Committee, added that an American withdrawal will be seen as a “boost to ISIS desire to come back.”

“President Trump is right to want to contain Iranian expansion,” the South Carolina Republican added. “However, withdrawal of our forces in Syria mightily undercuts that effort and put our allies, the Kurds at risk.”

“I fear it will lead to devastating consequences for our nation, the region, and throughout the world,” he warned.

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