Trump Defends His Planned Troop Withdrawal from Syria
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday defended his planned withdrawal of all 2,000 American troops from Syria, attacking critics of the action as chronic complainers.
In a string of Twitter remarks, Trump said, "If anybody but Donald Trump did what I did in Syria, which was an ISIS (Islamic State) loaded mess when I became President, they would be a national hero."
He said the Islamic State terrorist group that once claimed Raqqa in northern Syria as the capital of its caliphate, "is mostly gone" from Syria and "we’re slowly sending our troops back home to be with their families, while at the same time fighting ISIS remnants."
Trump stunned U.S. national security aides and lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats alike, by announcing December 19 that he was withdrawing the U.S. troops who had been instrumental in removing most of the jihadist group from northeast Syria and aided Kurdish fighters in their fight against the insurgents.
Congress 'Blindsided' by Syria News
Critics of the withdrawal said that removing U.S. troops could lead to a resurgence of Islamic State operations.
One critic of the move, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, normally a Trump loyalist, met with the U.S. leader Sunday and later said the president remains committed to defeating Islamic State. Graham suggested Trump may slow his planned 30-day withdrawal, but the White House has not commented on Graham's interpretation of his talks with Trump.
"I think we're in a pause situation where we are re-evaluating what's the best way to achieve the president's objective of having (other countries) pay more and do more" in the war on terrorism, Graham said.
In his Monday tweets, Trump said, "I campaigned on getting out of Syria and other places. Now when I start getting out the Fake News Media, or some failed Generals who were unable to do the job before I arrived, like to complain about me & my tactics, which are working. Just doing what I said I was going to do! Except the results are FAR BETTER than I ever said they were going to be! I campaigned against the NEVER ENDING WARS, remember!"
Trump contended, "I am the only person in America who could say that, “I’m bringing our great troops back home, with victory,” and get BAD press. It is Fake News and Pundits who have FAILED for years that are doing the complaining. If I stayed in Endless Wars forever, they would still be unhappy!"