Trump Decided to Withdraw From Syria After Leaving His National Security Team Speechless
The president agreed to the withdrawal during a December 14 phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, two officials told NBC News, but the original purpose of the call had been “for Trump to tell Erdogan to back off” threats to attack American supported Kurdish rebels, NBC reported.
But Trump went off-script during the call and agreed with Erdogan, particularly when the Turkish president asked Trump, “Why are you still there?” when the Islamic State had been 99 percent defeated. Erdogan reportedly told Trump that his country could handle what was left.
NBC further reported that Trump asked Bolton, who was patched in, why American troops remained in Syria if Erdogan's claim was true. Bolton conceded that the Islamic State only retains one percent of the territory it once held.
However, national security advisers and senior military leaders argue – with seeming unanimity – that ISIS still has the ability to metastasize, as it did under President Obama, and has more than enough firepower to massacre our Kurdish allies.
The national security team spent the following weekend unsuccessfully trying to alter Trump’s decision, to no avail, and the news hit the press on Wednesday.
White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller summed up the president’s view during a Thursday night appearance with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
"This president got elected to get our foreign policy back on the right track after years of being adrift," Miller told a visibly agitated Blitzer. "One foreign policy blunder after another in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya hasn’t worked out for our national interest."
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