Issue Report
For Immediate Release: 
October 16, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
Americans across the country are joining together in a chorus of opposition against the President’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria’s northern border. The consequences of the President’s decision are growing by the day: Kurdish allies are fleeing, our national security is weakened, our credibility abroad is eroding, and our adversaries in Syria, Russia, and Iran are emboldened. 

Republicans agree this decision is dangerous for our nation and our allies:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “ISIS and al Qaeda remain dangerous forces in Syria and the ongoing Syrian civil war poses significant security and humanitarian risks…Withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime.” [Statement, 10/07/19]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “For years, the United States and our Syrian Kurdish partners have fought heroically to corner ISIS and destroy its physical caliphate. Abandoning this fight now and withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria would re-create the very conditions that we have worked hard to destroy and invite the resurgence of ISIS. And such a withdrawal would also create a broader power vacuum in Syria that will be exploited by Iran and Russia, a catastrophic outcome for the United States’ strategic interests.” [Statement, 10/14/19]

Senator Lindsey Graham: “This impulsive decision by the president has undone all the gains we’ve made, thrown the region into further chaos…This to me is just unnerving to its core.” [Fox and Friends, 10/07/19]

Senator Marco Rubio: “The Trump Administration has made a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.” [Tweet, 10/07/2019]

Senator Ben Sasse: “If the President sticks with this retreat, he needs to know that this bad decision will likely result in the slaughter of allies who fought with us, including women and children.” [Statement, 10/07/19]

Senator Susan Collins: “This is a terribly unwise decision by the President to abandon our Kurdish allies, who have been our major partner in the fight against the Islamic State.” [Statement, 10/07/19]

Congressman Michael McCaul: “The United States should not step aside and allow a Turkish military operation in Northeast Syria. This move will undermine our ongoing campaign to prevent an ISIS resurgence and will ultimately threaten our homeland.” [Statement, 10/07/19]

Congressman Will Hurd: “Just as the Kurds had our backs against ISIS, we must have theirs. The U.S. must do whatever it takes to hold Turkey accountable for compromising our security.” [Twitter, 10/09/19]

Congressman Pete Olson: “…I reject any early withdrawal from Syria. This action threatens American security and weakens credibility among our allies. Withdrawal of U.S. forces would reignite ISIS, embolden terrorists and gratify Iran — three mistakes the United States cannot afford to make.” [Statement, 10/07/19]

Congressman Adam Kinzinger: “Withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria as Turkey moves forward with their offensive in the northern region is wrong, dangerous, and it means we are abandoning our friends in the region. This is a shortsighted decision with very real and long-lasting implications…” [Statement, 10/07/19]

National security and foreign policy officials believe it was a grave mistake: 

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley: “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake.” [Twitter, 10/07/19]

Anonymous National Security Council Official: “President Trump was definitely out-negotiated…The U.S. national security has entered a state of increased danger for decades to come because the President has no spine and that’s the bottom line.” [Newsweek, 10/07/19]

Former CIA Director David Petraeus: “I am deeply concerned that the US withdrawal of forces from northern Syria will lead to a resurgence of ISIS attacks in Syria and beyond, and to a perception that the US is an unreliable partner.” [The National, 10/14/19]

General Jack Keane: “There's one word that describes this for me, betrayal…I think it's a strategic blunder that will have significant implications.” [Fox News, 10/07/19]

And editorial boards are slamming the decision: 

The Washington Post: “The president claims that the Islamic State has been eliminated, but it has not. He suggested Turkey, Russia, Syria and European countries would prevent the group’s resurgence; they won’t. He also boasted that “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.” Such unhinged rhetoric ought to worry even those Americans who support Mr. Trump’s decision.” [10/7/19]

USA Today: “After expending tragic sums of blood and treasure for decades in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S military finally found a formula for success in Syria at minimal American casualties and cost. Now President Donald Trump is taking a wrecking ball to the experiment.” [10/08/19]

The Wall Street Journal: “President Trump prides himself on one-on-one diplomacy, but too often it results in rash and damaging decisions like his abrupt order Sunday for U.S. troops to retreat from northern Syria….As Commander in Chief, Mr. Trump has been mostly tactical and rarely strategic. He shifts positions from week to week, even day to day, for the sake of a summit or short-term appearances. Allies are informed about his reversals after the fact and left to wonder if they can still rely on the United States of America.” [10/11/19]

The Dallas Morning News: “Sadly, the Trump administration’s betrayal of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will have long-term, deleterious repercussions for U.S. foreign policy in the region and around the globe.” [10/13/2019]

The New York Times: “One thousand decisions led the United States to find itself refereeing the border between Syria and Turkey, but only one decision — made abruptly just over a week ago by President Trump after a phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey — led to the chaos and bloodletting that has gushed across the region in the past few days.” [10/14/19]

The Chicago Tribune: “President Donald Trump’s abandonment of Kurdish fighters in Syria — allies suddenly made vulnerable to destruction by Turkey — is a strategic calamity and a moral transgression. Trump has hung the Kurds out to dry. The cost to America will be calculated in U.S. credibility as well as Kurdish casualties.” [10/14/19]

The San Francisco Chronicle: “In just a week, Trump’s decision has ushered in such chaos that it’s not clear how or whether the United States will extract 1,000 troops from Syria, about 50 nuclear bombs stored nearby in Turkey, and scores of Islamic State captives deemed “high-value…Trump pretends his retreat is in the service of an America-first vision that eschews foreign entanglements…In fact, the president’s betrayal of our allies puts their interests and America’s last behind a rogues’ gallery of dictators and extremists.” [10/14/2019]

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