Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Syrian Kurds to the Turks has not exactly gotten rave reviews so far this morning, but this might be the most surprising and biting criticism yet. “What a disaster,” said an angry Brian Kilmeade on the president’s favorite morning show. “We’re abandoning our most loyal allies,” Kilmeade retorts when Steve Doocy tries defending the plan as meeting a campaign promise. “What kind of message is that,” Kilmeade wonders, “to the next ally that wants to side with us?”
What kind of message is it? Pretty much the same one we sent Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq in 2011. Now we have a bipartisan track record of cutting and running.
Immediately after getting blasted on Fox & Friends, Trump took to Twitter to defend the decision. Sure, the Kurds fought our battle against ISIS, Trump argued, but don’t forget that we paid them “massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.” It’s no longer in our interest to fight ISIS, Trump says, and says that fight should be left to Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Russia:
Did Trump watch Kilmeade before sending this? I’d bet that’s what prompted this thread. If that set Trump off, one can only imagine what he thought of Lindsey Graham’s call into the show later, in which Graham called the idea “unnerving to its core”:
One of the president’s strongest defenders in the Senate — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — called into “Fox & Friends” Monday morning, saying the president’s decision “impulsive.”
“I hope I’m making myself clear how shortsighted and irresponsible this decision is in my view,” Graham said. “This to me is just unnerving to its core.”
He said that ISIS is not defeated and that is “the biggest lie being told” by this administration.
Graham said he would be introducing a Senate resolution opposing this and ask for a reversal of the decision.
To put it mildly, this is disappointing but maybe not all that surprising. This was the same decision Trump wanted to take last December, one that prompted James Mattis to resign in protest. The backlash at that time forced Trump to back down, but he never changed his mind about the policy. This was inevitable, even if the timing might be even worse now than it was last December. He’s in the middle of an impeachment fight in which he needs allies like Graham (whether Trump likes it or not). If they see Trump as an existential threat to the security of the US, they might not be so keen to offer public defenses of Trump, although Graham injects one here anyway.
Well, at least this guy’s happy about Trump’s decision. Maybe he can start a morning show in DC.