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

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyPotential Dem defectors face pressure on impeachment Athlete Peter Frates dies of ALS after becoming face of Ice Bucket Challenge Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat MORE (R-Utah) on Monday knocked President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe 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 GrahamGraham: FBI investigation in 2016 turned into a 'criminal conspiracy' This week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch Senate braces for brawl on Trump impeachment rules MORE (R-S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Justices to hear ObamaCare case with billions at stake Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump 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 BidenThe media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Top Zelensky aide refutes Sondland testimony The great AI debate: What candidates are (finally) saying about artificial intelligence 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 GiulianiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today Controversy on phone records intensifies amid impeachment Tempers flare at tense Judiciary hearing on impeachment 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."