Independent Michigan Rep. Justin Amash recently appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press for a discussion with Chuck Todd to discuss Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria — a move that was met with backlash from some of the president’s most vocal defenders, including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.
According to Amash, Trump is using U.S. troops as “paid mercenaries,” NBC News reports.
“There are people who support the president, who believe things he says, but it’s pretty clear he’s not bringing home the troops. He’s just moving them to other parts of the Middle East,” Amash said.
“He’s moving troops back into Iraq, he’s moving other troops into Saudi Arabia and using our forces almost as mercenaries, paid mercenaries who are going to come in, as long as Saudi Arabia pays us some money, it’s good to go.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper recently told reporters that the troops that are leaving Syria are heading to Iraq to combat the Islamic State, which conflicts with Trump’s claims that he is returning the troops home. In addition, other U.S. troops are reportedly making their way to Saudi Arabia to protect the desert kingdom.
Amash has been openly critical of the president since he announced his support for Trump’s impeachment — the first Republican to do so. His support came following Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and ultimately led to the GOP turning their back on him, pushing him to become an independent.
#NEW: Michigan Congressman Justin Amash leaves the door open for a potential presidential bid:
"I'm running for Congress, but I keep things open and I wouldn't rule anything out."
— Chloe Salsameda (@ChloeSalsameda) October 20, 2019
According to the libertarian-leaning Michigan congressman, U.S. troops should not have been placed in Syria in the first place. However, Amash nevertheless criticized Trump’s decision to pull the troops from the region so abruptly, which was followed by a Turkish attack on the region.
“You don’t wait ’til after withdrawing the troops to make a plan to go pressure Turkey to ease up and then call for a ceasefire,” he said.
Amash recently made headlines when he chimed in on Hillary Clinton’s controversial comments about Tulsi Gabbard being a Russian asset. He said that Clinton is a Trump asset, claiming that she drove voters to Trump and expressing his belief that believes her attack on Gabbard will have the same effect.
Amash highlighted that Trump gained fewer votes in his district than any Republican in recent history and still managed to beat Clinton. The reason, says the 39-year-old, is because Democrats rejected Clinton as their candidate. He continued to suggest that Clinton’s remark plays into Trump’s hands and delegitimizes what he believes is a warranted investigation into Russia.