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

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySenate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trial Senate blocks push to subpoena Bolton in impeachment trial Impeachment trial begins with furor over rules MORE (R-Utah) on Monday knocked President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign 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 GrahamSenator-jurors who may not be impartial? Remove them for cause Broad, bipartisan rebuke for proposal to pull troops from Africa What to watch for as Senate organizes impeachment on day one MORE (R-S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioApple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech Surging Sanders draws fresh scrutiny ahead of debate 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 BidenSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump says impeachment lawyers were 'really good' 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 GiulianiSenate rejects subpoenaing Mulvaney to testify in impeachment trial GOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid Citizens United put out a welcome mat for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman 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."