Trump defends decision to pull U.S. forces as Turkey continues military offensive against Kurds in northern Syria

Washington Post 2 days ago

President Trump on Saturday defended his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria before a crowd of evangelicals, as many in the religious community have condemned the president’s move that left Kurdish Christians open to Turkey’s military offensive.

Trump acknowledged that his choice was unpopular, describing himself as being on an “island of one,” but argued that it was time to bring U.S. soldiers home from an “endless war.”

“I don’t think our soldiers should be there for the next 50 years guarding a border between Turkey and Syria when we can’t guard our own borders at home,” Trump said, garnering muted applause from the audience. “I don’t think so.”

The president spoke as Turkey’s military made gains in its offensive against Kurdish fighters, a close U.S. partner in combating the Islamic State. Turkey launched its operation into Syria days after Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone and the White House announced that the United States would not stand in Turkey’s way.

Trump saved his remarks about Syria until the end of his 80-minute speech to the Values Voter Summit in Washington, where he delivered a stripped-down version of his campaign-rally speech with its familiar targets and complaints.

Trump railed against the “radical left,” repeated his claim that he thinks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “hates this country” and called Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) “crooked as hell.”

He mocked Schiff’s appearance, calling him “pencil neck,” and told a woman in the audience that she “would not be impressed with him physically.”

He also criticized Somali-born refugee Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) as “anti-Semitic” and described the Democrats as “waging war on everyone in this room.”

The “radical left” wants to “indoctrinate our children,” Trump said. “They resent and disdain faithful Americans. Given the chance, they’d use every instrument of government power to try and shut you down.”

Trump’s support among white evangelicals has been unflagging since he won 80 percent of their vote in 2016. But his recent military decision has exposed some fractures in that reliable base. Pat Robertson, a longtime Trump supporter and founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, said Monday that Trump “is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven” for betraying the Kurds.

Before Trump spoke, Cissie Graham Lynch, the granddaughter of the late Rev. Billy Graham, offered prayers for the Kurdish people. Then she prayed for Trump and Vice President Pence.

When Trump took the stage, Andrew Brunson, a pastor who had been a prisoner in Turkey for two years and was accused of committing crimes on behalf of Kurdish fighters, prayed over him.

“I ask that you give the president supernatural discernment to know who is trustworthy and who is not. Bring into the light all deception and intrigue. Expose and reverse the plans of those who would harm President Trump and this nation,” Brunson said, his hand on Trump’s shoulder.

Yet some of the harshest criticism of Trump over his troop withdrawal has come from members of his Republican Party, including his closest congressional allies.

In a tweet, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) seized on the president’s complaint about the United States being stuck in an “endless war.”

“Situation when we were there: relative peace. We leave: -Turkey attacks our Kurdish allies -shoots artillery at US troops -bombs a prison where ISIS fighters already escaped. -ISIS car bomb in Qamishli. That’s just day one. Which scenario looks more like an endless war?” Crenshaw said.

Trump sought to reassure the crowd that Turkey would face “swift, strong and severe economic sanctions” if it does “not meet their commitments, including the protection of religious minorities.” He also announced $50 million in emergency financial assistance to Syrian groups that support ethnic and religious victims of this conflict.

Earlier in his remarks, Trump spent considerable time lashing out at the House impeachment inquiry, arguing that it is for “horrible, horrible crimes” and labeling it a “witch hunt.”

He also rehashed the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, telling the crowd that the accounts of sexual assault were “phony stories about him. They were made up. Just like they are made up about me and other people.”

Christine Blasey Ford alleged that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied the accusation.

Read more at PowerPost


Source link
Read also:
Fox News › Politics › 2 days ago
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper defended President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria as Turkey continues to attack the Kurds, while Trump himself denounced getting involved in "endless wars" and talked up sanctions against...
The Sun › 3 days ago
TURKISH forces are reported to have mistakenly shelled a contingent of US special forces troops in northern Syria. The news comes after an offensive launched by Turkey against Kurdish forces in the area met with international condemnation. Turkey...
CBS News › 15 hours ago
Some Kurds living in the U.S. said they feel abandoned after the president decided to pull U.S. forces out of northern Syria. Manuel Bojorquez visited Nashville, the city with the largest concentration of Kurds outside the Middle East.
CBS News › 5 days ago
The Turkish military is pushing deeper into northern Syria in its massive offensive against Kurdish allies of the U.S. Turkey accuses the Kurds of being terrorists. Charlie D’Agata reports from northern Syria.
Business Insider › Politics › 1 week ago
President Trump's decision to withdraw US forces from northern Syria was prompted by a Sunday phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, The New York Times reported. Trump's decision to green light a Turkish military incursion into...
The Hill › Politics › 16 hours ago
Democrats in Congress are vowing to quickly slap new sanctions on Ankara and formally oppose President Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops from northern Syria following Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish forces...
Business Insider › Politics › 18 hours ago
President Donald Trump on Monday announced he's hitting Turkey with sanctions over its military incursion into northeast Syria. The military operation, launched last Wednesday, has already displaced over 100,000 people in northern Syria. Turkey's...
The Hill › Politics › 1 week ago
President Trump has ordered U.S. military forces to retreat from northeast Syria, paving the way for Turkey to proceed with a long-planned offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces that were instrumental in the fight agains...
Axios › Politics › 5 days ago
Republican members of Congress on Wednesday harshly condemned Turkey's military offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, which follows President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the area.The big picture: Some of...
Washington Times › 1 week ago
World leaders were "preparing for the worst" Monday as Turkey moved quickly toward a sweeping military offensive against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in northern Syria after President Trump's surprise announcement that he would pull American forces out...
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google
OR