Mitt Romney wants to know exactly why President Donald Trump ordered troops to withdraw from a stretch of northern Syria, and he believes the American public has a right to know as well.
This week, the Utah Republican called for the U.S. Senate to hold public hearings to investigate Trump’s decision to move a small contingent of troops stationed in northeastern Syria, a move that allowed Turkey to launch its long-awaited military operation targeting America’s Kurdish allies. The attack led to a number of civilian deaths and reported atrocities from Turkish-backed militant groups, leading to worldwide condemnation and eventually forcing the United States to send a delegation to Turkey to negotiate a cease fire.
As the Salt Lake City Tribune noted, Romney laid into the decision during a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday.
“The decision to abandon the Kurds violates one of our most sacred duties,” Romney said. “It strikes at American honor. What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history.”
Romney, who has been one of Donald Trump’s most vocal critics on the right, went on to say that the move diminished the United States and only served to strengthen Russia, Iran, and the Bashar al-Assad-led Syrian government. Romney called for public hearings into the decision-making process for the move. The White House hastily announced the troop retreat in a statement issued late at night on Sunday, October 6, just hours after Donald Trump had a phone call with Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
Mitt Romney has been critical of the move from the outset, joining politicians from both sides of the aisle in condemning Trump for seemingly abandoning the Kurdish allies who were pivotal in the fight against ISIS. The Kurdish military did the bulk of the on-the-ground fighting in Syria and Iraq, wrestling ISIS from the large swaths of land it took in lightning-fast charges across those countries in 2014.
Romney has attacked Trump on other fronts, including the president’s televised request for both China and Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. Romney hit back against Trump’s assertion that he is only trying to root out worldwide corruption, noting that Trump has only targeted his political allies.
“When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China’s investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated,” Romney tweeted.