Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
WASHINGTON―Allies and critics of President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill offered a harsh rebuke to the commander in chief on Monday in response to his decision to suddenly withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, essentially clearing the path for a Turkish military invasion of the region.
“This impulsive decision by the president has undone all the gains we’ve made, thrown the region into further chaos; Iran is licking its chops and if I’m an ISIS fighter, I’ve got a second lease on life,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in an appearance on Fox & Friends.
“To those who think ISIS has been defeated, you will soon see, and to Turkey you have destroyed the relationship, what little you had with the U.S. Congress, and I will do everything I can to sanction Turkey’s military and their economy if they step one foot into Syria.”
But Graham, a staunch Trump ally, called the move “unnerving to its core” because of the potential threat it poses to U.S. national security. He also took to Twitter to blast the move as “shortsighted and irresponsible” and “a disaster in the making,” and vowed to introduce measures putting new sanctions on Turkey and forcing the president to reverse the decision, which he predicted would receive strong bipartisan support.
Several Democrats appeared to agree with such an idea. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, blasted the move as “a betrayal of a key partner in our fight against ISIS.” He demanded a full briefing for key congressional committees to explain the moves.
“Trump took this step against the advice of our diplomats and military leaders,” Kaine said in a statement. “He didn’t even notify the Kurds, our allies, or Congress. The Trump Doctrine continues—abandon allies and embolden adversaries.”