READ: Donald Trump Tweets ‘We Have Defeated ISIS in Syria, My Only Reason for Being There During the Trump Presidency’

Now that’s some friendly fire.

President Donald Trump stunned the political world Wednesday when he announced the withdrawal of American troops from war-torn Syria on Twitter and declaring victory over ISIS.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria,” Trump tweeted. “My only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

Trump’s proclamation followed reporting from The Washington Post & Wall Street Journal signaling that the president plans on removing 2,000 troops from northern Syria.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the president’s intent and repeated his unproven claim that ISIS has been crushed.

“Five years ago, ISIS was a very powerful and dangerous force in the Middle East, and now the United States has defeated the territorial caliphate,” Sanders said in a statement. “These victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign. We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign.”

Trump’s decision ignited a firestorm across the political fold.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blasted the president’s announcement, saying in a statement that Trump is making an “Obama-like mistake,” adding that “while American patience in confronting radical Islam may wane, the radical Islamists’ passion to kill Americans and our allies never wavers.”

Graham continued: “After visiting Syria earlier this year, it is abundantly clear the approximately 2,000 American troops stationed there are vital to our national security interests,” he said, adding that pulling troops out of Syria “would be a big win” for Iran, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom Assad is allied.

“I fear it will lead to devastating consequences for our nation, the region, and throughout the world,” Graham warned. “Staying there is an insurance policy against the reemergence of ISIS and destruction of our Kurdish allies who fought so bravely against them.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Graham in condemning Trump’s troop withdrawal, tweeting that a “‘full and rapid’ withdrawal from is a grave error with broader implications beyond just the fight against ISIS.”

Nebraska’s Ben Sasse released a statement opposing a troop withdrawal as well, making essentially the same point as Graham.

Congressman Adam Kitzinger (D-ILL) also mirrored Graham’s concerns. He tweeted that it is “not true” ISIS has been defeated and issued a reminder about what happened when the United States tried to pull out of Iraq.

“Really? Iran is rejoicing right now,” Kitzinger wrote. “We left Iraq, and had to come back. I would sure hope the President and his advisers are smarter than this.”

Kitzinger told Josh Rogin of WaPo “that the timing of the move could not be more counterproductive.”

“History will look at that as one of the stupidest strategic moves before a negotiation,” he said. “In order to have a successful diplomatic outcome, you have to have a military option and a military presence.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper also noted the fallacy in Trump’s conclusion.

“ISIS has NOT been defeated,” says of the Syrian Emergency Task Force. “I have no idea what the president is talking about.”


The Jewish News Agency panned the troop withdrawal too, voicing fears over the safety of Jews in the region should Iran be able to exert greater power. The JNA warns of “regional war” resulting from Trump “diverting headlines” from the mountain of investigations grinding against his presidency.

Some Democrats, however, are applauding Trump’s decision.

“Both the Trump and Obama Administrations in Syria went far beyond the congressionally authorized use of force to go after terrorists,” wrote California Congressman Ted Lieu. “Congress never authorized the Executive Branch to go to war in . I am pleased is bringing our troops home.”

But without a long-term, coherent strategy, Lieu may be prematurely celebrating, especially given the vulnerability of the Kurds, whom U.S. forces support.

Following Trump’s tweet, the Pentagon reaffirmed its commitment to fighting ISIS.

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