Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria reportedly blindsided the Pentagon and caused chaos in the White House. It also led to rare disagreement from some of the president’s most ardent supporters, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, and former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.
The move also drew criticism from Trump’s usual detractors, including Libertarian-leaning Independent Justin Amash, who took to Twitter to suggest that Trump is “not ending any war.”
“He’s not bringing home the troops. He’s not ending any war. Stop falling for it,” he tweeted.
In a subsequent tweet, Amash also addressed Graham’s criticism of Trump’s decision. According to Graham, Trump’s decision mirrors former president Barack Obama’s approach to Iraq, which he claims had “disastrous consequences” for U.S. national security. He added that he hopes Trump will reconsider his decision and listen to “sound military advice.”
Amash disagreed with Graham’s sentiments.
“Obama’s foreign policy was not libertarian. Neither was GWB’s foreign policy. Nor is Trump’s foreign policy. Libertarians don’t support unconstitutional, perpetual wars. Those presidents do, just like Graham.”
The 39-year-old congressman previously referred to a tweet from Bloomberg News State Department reporter Nicholas Wadhams, who claims that a senior State Department official said that the number of troops Trump is withdrawing from Syria is less than 26. Amash suggested that Trump’s move isn’t intended to end military involvement in Syria but instead to simply move a small number of troops out of the way so Turkey can advance.
According to Trump, his withdrawal from Syria is a not an abandonment of the U.S.-backed Kurds that helped fight ISIS extremists.
“We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters,” Trump said Monday, per USA Today.
The WH statement tonight on Syria after Trump spoke with Erdogan demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of anything happening on the ground. The “United States” is not holding any ISIS detainees. They are all being held by the SDF, which Trump just served up to Turkey. pic.twitter.com/vYr7j0q6mR— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) October 7, 2019
Trump claims that his threat to “destroy” Turkey’s economy Monday was to prevent them from taking action against the Kurds. He also suggested that the United States has a “very good” relationship with Turkey. Regardless, Trump’s critics believe that his troop withdrawal will pave the way for a Turkish invasion of Syria that could lead to the destruction of the Kurd forces.
The president’s decision comes as he faces an impeachment inquiry for pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. He highlights the move as an example of keeping true to his word on the campaign trail, where he pledged to end wars in countries like Syria.