Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) routinely defends President Donald Trump’s administration, even for the most abhorrent of actions. This is despite vocal opposition to Trump during the 2016 campaign, which seemed to evaporate once Trump ascended to the Oval Office.
However, in an appearance on Fox News Monday morning, Senator Graham issued a rare condemnation of the Trump administration.
Graham’s criticism came after the administration announced its intention to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Northern Syria on Monday morning, leaving the Kurdish people subject to certain invasion by Turkey. The Trump administration made the decision despite years of critical Kurdish assistance in defeating ISIS.
Many, like Graham, are concerned that ISIS could see a massive resurgence if Turkey successfully invades Syria, potentially freeing the ISIS-allied prisoners held by the Syrian Democratic Forces.
Graham’s criticism of Trump’s decision was withering:
“This impulsive decision by the president has undone all the gains we’ve made, thrown the region into further chaos, Iran is licking their chops, and if I’m an ISIS fighter, I’ve got a second lease on life. I will do everything I can to sanction Turkey’s military and their economy if they step one foot into Syria.”
“I hope I’m making myself clear how shortsighted & irresponsible this decision is, in my view. This to me is just unnerving to its core. ISIS is not defeated. This is the biggest lie being told by this administration.”
Possibly even more surprising, legions of Trump-loyal Republicans criticized the administration’s decision.
Withdrawing US forces from Northern Syria is a catastrophic mistake that puts our gains against ISIS at risk and threatens US security.
This decision ignores lesson of 9/11. Terrorists thousands of miles away can and will use their safe-havens to launch attacks against America.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) October 7, 2019
If reports about US retreat in #Syria are accurate, the Trump administration has made a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 7, 2019
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. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) October 7, 2019
The decision wasn’t popular with progressives and Democrats either.
I have long believed the U.S. must responsibly end our military interventions in the Middle East. But Trump’s abrupt announcement to withdraw from northern Syria and endorse Turkey’s incursion is extremely irresponsible. It is likely to result in more suffering and instability. https://t.co/a4Wi5RYFuC
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 7, 2019
Let us be clear: The president has sided with authoritarian leaders of Turkey and Russia over our loyal allies and America’s own interests. His decision is a sickening betrayal both of the Kurds and his oath of office.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 7, 2019
Time and again, this president has demonstrated that his foreign policy is about immorality, inconsistency and instability.
This is a disastrous decision, and many will die as a result.https://t.co/1CKor9rD7I
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) October 7, 2019
In fact, just about everyone seemed unhappy with the decision—including many private citizens.
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) October 7, 2019
Trump in June: “Erdogan “had a 65,000-man army at [Turkey’s] border [with Syria], and he was going to wipe out the Kurds, //who helped us with ISIS.”// But “I called him, and I asked him not to do it. I said, ‘You can’t do that. You can’t do it.’ And he didn’t do it.” https://t.co/WeHjQL3Dp3
— John Dickerson (@jdickerson) October 7, 2019
I met these young women this summer in Rojava, Northern Syria. All of them grew up in small villages, where opportunities for women were few. Most spent years under ISIS domination.
Thanks to the Rojavan revolution, these women now have a life.
Donald Trump just betrayed them. pic.twitter.com/mtjf6zqOQr
— Robert Evans (The Other Robert Evans) (@IwriteOK) October 7, 2019
Trump, for his part, defended the decision in a Twitter rant, insisting that the U.S. had spent too long in pointless wars in the Middle East. While many would agree with him, few—including Republicans—would endorse a carnival-style model of entering wars and withdrawing without consideration or responsibility for the region.
Not Trump, apparently. He’s moved on to tweeting against attorneys with the Southern District of New York for investigating him.