WASHNINGTON D.C., Oct. 7, 2019 (Gephardt Daily/UPI) — Utah’s U.S. Senator Mitt Romney says Donald Trump’s decision to remove U.S troops from northern Syria ahead of a Turkey military advance against Kurdish forces is a “betrayal that will have grave humanitarian and national security consequences.”
The White House issued a statement late Sunday following a phone call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which it said the administration will neither support nor interfere with Turkey’s mission.
“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” the statement read. “The United States forces, having defeated the [Islamic State] territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area.”
Erdogan said a day earlier the Turkish military was ready to mount the attack.
In August, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Turkey against conducting such an action, stating there would be “potentially devastating consequences.”
The White House decision generated sharp responses Monday.
A statement issued by Romney and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chairman and Ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism reads, in full:
“The President’s decision to abandon our Kurdish allies in Northern Syria in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal that will have grave humanitarian and national security consequences. After enlisting support from the Kurds to help destroy ISIS and assuring Kurdish protection from Turkey, the U.S. has now opened the door to their destruction. This severely undercuts America’s credibility as a reliable partner and creates a power vacuum in the region that benefits ISIS.
With some 15,000 ISIS fighters on the ground, and tens of thousands in prison camps controlled by the Kurds, the security situation remains precarious. A Turkish invasion will further destabilize conditions on the ground and could result in the escape of ISIS detainees and supporters.
Finally, this decision will further exacerbate the already dire humanitarian crisis by creating new waves of refugees in a region where it will be far more difficult for NGOs to operate. This decision is ultimately a victory for Assad, Russia, Iran, and ISIS. The Administration must immediately reconsider its announced decision to withdraw the few remaining U.S. troops who, for the time being, are playing a vital peacekeeping role. Without a political agreement to protect the Kurds and other U.S. allies in Syria, our limited presence there is necessary to protect our security interests and those of the brave fighters who stood with us in the fight against ISIS.
Barring a reversal of this decision, the Administration must come before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests. As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Middle East subcommittee, we will be working with Committee leadership to assure that the Administration appears before the Committee as soon as possible.”
Romney and Murphy recently convened a subcommittee hearing focused on the findings of the Syria Study Group’s report on assessments and recommendations for U.S. strategy in Syria.
Trump answered his critics by saying a U.S. withdrawal in Syria was long overdue.
“I held off this fight for almost three years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he said. “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will have to figure the situation out.
“We are 7,000 miles away and will crush ISIS again if they come anywhere near us!”
Just two days ago, on Saturday, Trump took to Twitter, calling fellow Republican Mitt Romney a “pompous ass” for openly questioning his administration’s attempt to invite foreign players into the 2020 election.
He’s also suggesting it’s Romney who should be impeached.
Trump’s broadsides appeared in a series of tweets, the first of which appeared at 8:17 a.m. Saturday.
“Somebody please wake up Mitt Romney and tell him that my conversation with the Ukrainian President was a congenial and very appropriate one, and my statement on China pertained to corruption, not politics. If Mitt worked this hard on Obama, he could have won. Sadly, he choked! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2019.
Trump’s second tweet took an even nastier tone.
“Mitt Romney never knew how to win. He is a pompous “ass” who has been fighting me from the beginning, except when he begged me for my endorsement for his Senate run (I gave it to him), and when he begged me to be Secretary of State (I didn’t give it to him). He is so bad for R’s!” — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2019.
Trump’s tweets came a day after Romney took to Twitter and blasted Trump for his direct appeal to communist China to investigate the Bidens.
“When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China’s investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated. — Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 4, 2019.
A second Romney tweet was no less pointed.
“By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling.” — Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 4, 2019.
Saturday afternoon Trump upped the ante, tweeting Romney should be impeached.
“I’m hearing that the Great People of Utah are considering their vote for their Pompous Senator, Mitt Romney, to be a big mistake. I agree! He is a fool who is playing right into the hands of the Do Nothing Democrats!”
U.S. Senators cannot be impeached, but they can be removed from office by way of a recall election.