Fri, Oct 18, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Trump dismisses concerns over Syria

‘REMEMBER 9/11’:The withdrawal is the worst decision of Donald Trump’s presidency, said US Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s most important supporters

AP, WASHINGTON

Washing his hands of Syria, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that the US has no stake in defending the Kurdish fighters who died by the thousands as Washington’s partners against the Islamic State group.

Hours later, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats walked out of a meeting at the White House, accusing him of having a “meltdown,” calling her a “third-grade politician,” and having no plan to deal with a potentially revived Islamic State group.

Condemnation of Trump’s stance on Turkey, Syria and the Kurds was quick and severe during the day, not only from Democrats, but from Republicans who have been his staunch supporters on virtually all issues.

The House, bitterly divided over the Trump impeachment inquiry, banded together for an overwhelming 354 to 60 denunciation of the US troop withdrawal.

Many lawmakers expressed worry that it could lead to revival of the Islamic State group, as well as Russian presence and influence in the area — in addition to the slaughter of many Kurds.

At the White House, Trump said that the US has no business in the region — and not to worry about the Kurdish fighters.

“They know how to fight, and by the way, they’re no angels,” Trump told reporters.

After the House vote, congressional leaders of both parties went to the White house for a briefing, which grew contentious, with Trump and Pelosi trading jabs.

The Democrats said they walked out when the meeting devolved into the trading of insults.

“What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown,” Pelosi told reporters, saying that Trump appeared visibly “shaken up” over the House vote.

“We couldn’t continue in the meeting because he was just not relating to the reality of it,” she said.

US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Trump for not having an adequate plan to deal with Islamic State fighters who have been held by the Kurds.

He said the meeting “was not a dialogue, this was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts.”

Republicans pushed back, saying it was Pelosi who had been the problem.

“She storms out of another meeting, trying to make it unproductive,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said.

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham called Pelosi’s action “baffling, but not surprising.”

She said the speaker “had no intention of listening or contributing to an important meeting on national security issues.”

Trump himself has stalked out of his White House meetings with congressional leaders — in May, saying he would no longer work with Democrats unless they dropped all Russia investigations, and last January during the partial US government shutdown.

Separately on Wednesday, a letter was disclosed in which he both cajoled and threatened Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, urging him to act only in “the right and humane way” in Syria.

He started on a positive note, suggesting they could “work out a good deal,” but then talked about crippling economic sanctions and concluded that the world “will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”

In public appearances on Wednesday, Trump said that he was fulfilling a campaign promise to bring US troops home from “endless wars” in the Middle East — casting aside criticism that a sudden US withdrawal from Syria betrayed the Kurdish fighters, stained US credibility around the world and opened an important region to Russia, which is moving in.

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