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Romney calls Trump's Syria decision a 'betrayal' of Kurds

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden teams to meet with Trump administration agencies Paul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism MORE (R-Utah) on Monday knocked President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE's decision to pull back U.S. troops in northern Syria, joining a chorus of high-profile Republicans breaking with the president.

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"The President’s decision to abandon our Kurd allies in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal. It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster," Romney tweeted. 

 

The White House announced late Sunday that Ankara was moving forward with a long-threatened offensive in northeastern Syria and that U.S. troops would not be in the “immediate area” when it happens. 

Trump doubled down on the decision on Monday, tweeting that it was time to pull the United States out of "ridiculous Endless War."

"WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN,” the president added.

Around 1,000 U.S. troops have been deployed in northeastern Syria, where they work closely with the Kurdish YPG, which leads the Syrian Democratic Forces in the region. 

Trump's move was quickly panned by several GOP lawmakers, including Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSpokesperson says Tennessee Democrat made 'poor analogy' in saying South Carolina voters have extra chromosome Former Graham challenger Jaime Harrison launches political action committee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience MORE (R-S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio signals opposition to Biden Cabinet picks Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results MORE (R-Fla.), who serve with Romney on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Republicans say the decision will bolster the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and put the lives of Kurdish allies in the region at risk. 

Romney's public pushback comes after Trump spent the weekend lashing out at the GOP senator, including calling him a "pompous ass" and suggesting he 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! #IMPEACHMITTROMNEY," Trump tweeted.

Romney is part of a small group of GOP senators who have publicly pushed back against Trump for saying late last week that China and Ukraine should investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Biden says staff has spoken with Fauci: 'He's been very, very helpful' MORE and his son Hunter Biden. 

"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," Romney said in a statement on Friday. 

Romney also voiced concerns late last month about the phone call where Trump asked the Ukrainian government to help his personal attorney, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiJake Tapper jokes he's retained Giuliani to look into fraud in 'Sexiest Man' election Pioneering New York City Mayor David Dinkins dies at 93 Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism MORE, look into the issue. There's been no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden.  

"I did read the transcript. It remains troubling in the extreme. It's deeply troubling," Romney told reporters last week. "Clearly what we've seen from the transcript itself is deeply troubling."