Brett McGurk, the U.S. Special Envoy to the Coalition to Defeat ISIS, has resigned following Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, NBC News is reporting. The decision comes just hours after Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned for similar reasons.
According to State Department officials familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, McGurk tendered his resignation Friday night. He had intended to leave his post in February of 2019, but he sped up his resignation following Trump’s decision to pull American troops out of Syria.
McGurk, 45, was appointed to his post in 2015, during the Obama administration. He remained at his position, coordinating anti-ISIS efforts between the dozens of countries who are all involved in the fight against the terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria. He was one of the few Obama appointees who kept his or her job after the Trump administration.
Just a couple of weeks ago, as BBC News reports, McGurk had reiterated the importance of staying in Syria until ISIS was defeated.
“We want to stay on the ground. It would be reckless if we were just to say, well, the physical caliphate is defeated, so we can just leave now. I think anyone who’s looked at a conflict like this would agree with that.”
BREAKING: Official says US envoy for anti-Islamic State coalition, Brett McGurk, has quit; more fallout from Trump's Syria pullout. https://t.co/HwmL1u0RH3
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 22, 2018
McGurk’s warning aside, on Wednesday Trump announced, seemingly out of nowhere and apparently without consultation with the Pentagon, that ISIS had been defeated and that U.S. troops would be pulling out of Syria effective immediately.
“We have won against ISIS. We’ve beaten them, and we’ve beaten them badly and we’ve taken back the land, and now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”
The announcement caught not only Pentagon officials by surprise, it also shocked U.S. allies.
It was also the last straw for Secretary of Defense James Mattis. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Mattis, who like McGurk had already been planning to resign — but accelerated his resignation on the news of Trump’s pull-out from Syria — said in his resignation letter that the Commander-in-Chief needed a Secretary of Defense who was “on the same page” with the POTUS.
Another Trump ally, Kentucky Senator and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also criticized Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria, at times echoing Mattis statements almost word-for-word in his criticism of Trump’s decision.
As to whether or not ISIS has been defeated, that remains largely a matter of debate. By most estimates, as many as 30,000 ISIS fighters remain in Syria and Iraq.