U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey said President Trump should immediately rethink his decision over the weekend to pull American forces out of northern Syria. The White House announced the shift in policy Sunday, saying that “United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area.” Going forward, the statement read, Turkey will move ahead with “long-planned” operations in the region.
“The president’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the northern Syrian border poses a significant threat to our national security and risks reversing the progress made in the region to destroy ISIS,” Toomey said in a statement Monday.
The decision would leave the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish group and U.S. ally that’s been instrumental in the fight against ISIS, vulnerable to attacks from Turkey.
“[The decision] could also lead to war between Turkey and Syrian Kurds, a result that will boost enemy regimes in Syria, Iran, and Russia,” Toomey continued. “This betrayal of the Kurds will also severely harm our credibility as an ally the world over.”
In a series of tweets Monday, Trump said “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN,” Trump wrote. He went on to say that the U.S. “will crush ISIS if they come anywhere near us!”
President Trump previously said the U.S. would withdraw troops in Syria last December. That decision led to the resignation of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and was later walked back by the now former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Toomey was critical of a withdrawal at that time as well.
Monday’s withdrawal garnered harsh criticism from other Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who urged the President to "exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS."
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a loyal supporter of President Trump, who said the decision will lead to the reemergence of ISIS.
“ISIS is not defeated,” Graham said in an interview on Fox. “The biggest lie being told by the administration is ISIS is defeated. The Caliphate is destroyed, but there is thousands of fighters over there and no, the caliphate would not have been destroyed without the Kurds.”
“I like President Trump, I’ve tried to help him,” Graham said. “This to me is just unnerving to its core. To say to the American people ISIS has been destroyed in Syria is not true.”