Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Tuesday issued a scathing condemnation of President Trump’s decision to pull troops out of northern Syria, calling it the the biggest mistake of his presidency.
“I think he’s putting the nation at risk, and I think he’s putting his presidency at risk,” Graham said. “And I hope he will adjust his policies like he did before. That would be actually be a sign of real leadership.”
Trump announced Sunday evening that the U.S. will pull back U.S. troops currently stationed in the north part of Syria, saying he does not want the U.S. to “police” the area any longer. However, he vowed to punish Turkey if the country takes any action the U.S. considers “off limits.”
Republican and Democratic critics of the move said a U.S. troop withdrawal would make room for expected Turkish invasion of the region and would leave the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who have been supported by U.S troops in fighting the Islamic State, open to attack.
“If I hear the president say one more time, ‘I made a campaign promise to get out of Syria,’ I’m going to throw up,” Graham said. “His duty as commander-in-chief, I believe, compels him to act honorably by the Kurds, and it is impossible for Turkey to go into Syria and not create a devastating ripple effect, no matter what the president says to [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan.”
The South Carolina Republican warned the move will “pave the way to the re-emergence of ISIS” and accused Trump of abandoning local Kurdish fighters, a charge Trump pushed back on Monday.
“In no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters,” the president said in a tweet.