Trump: Let Assad, Russia or China protect the Kurds

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE on Monday said other countries — including China or Russia — should be responsible for protecting the U.S.-allied Kurds in northern Syria amid a groundswell of bipartisan criticism over his decision to pull American forces out of the region.

Trump took to Twitter to argue against a U.S. presence in the region, even as some of his staunchest allies in Congress assert that his strategy has opened the door for Turkey to slaughter the Kurds and for a resurgence of ISIS.

"Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land. I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria and Assad to protect the land of our enemy?" Trump tweeted.

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"Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!" he added.

Trump went on to question why the U.S. should protect part of Syria when President Bashar Assad is "our enemy."

"At the same time, Syria and whoever they chose to help, wants naturally to protect the Kurds I would much rather focus on our Southern Border which abuts and is part of the United States of America," he added, boasting that crossings at the border are "way down."  

Trump, who has no public appearances scheduled during Monday's federal holiday, has spent some of the day defending his foreign policy in Syria via Twitter.

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He has been battered with criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike since the White House announced eight days ago that U.S. forces would leave northern Syria, a move that set off a sequence of events leading to bloodshed and uncertainty in the region.

Turkish forces last week moved into northern Syria, attacking the Kurdish forces that fought alongside the U.S. against ISIS. 

As a result, the Kurds struck a deal to join Assad's forces in attempting to push back the Turks. Assad has the support of Russia and has gassed civilians in Syria amid a years-long civil war in the country.

Lawmakers and former military officials have asserted that Trump's decision to pull U.S. forces out of the region essentially gave Turkey a green light to move forward with its operation.

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But Trump has given no indication that he is reconsidering. He has insisted that he wants to end U.S. involvement in "endless wars," even as he approved sending additional American forces to Saudi Arabia last week.

The president has threatened Turkey with economic sanctions if it crosses a line in its Syrian offensive, though he has not specified what he would consider inappropriate.

Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump says he opposes mail-in voting for November On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans The bipartisan neutering of the Congressional Budget Office MORE (D-Calif.) said on Monday that she and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Trump says he's considering restricting travel to coronavirus 'hot spots' MORE (R-S.C.) agreed on the need for a resolution overturning President Trump's decision on Syria as well as additional sanctions against Turkey.

Lawmakers have already introduced several pieces of legislation, including sanctions against Turkey and a resolution opposing the administration's decision to pull back U.S. troops in northern Syria.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday said that he is "gravely concerned" about the U.S. strategy in Syria and warned a "power vacuum" could be created in the region.  

Trump is expected to meet Monday afternoon with Graham at the White House. That follows a meeting of top administration officials earlier Monday that involved Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBank executives sought guidance on small business loan program from Ivanka Trump: report Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves Confusion surrounds launch of 9B in small-business loans MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe new war for soft power hegemony Organizing evacuations during a shutdown The Saudi-Russia oil fight is the last thing the economy needs in a pandemic MORE.

Graham appeared to directly reject Trump's reasoning in a string of his own tweets late Monday afternoon, likening Trump's strategy to that of the Obama administration.

"Our southern border should be our LAST line of defense against radical Islam," Graham tweeted. "Our FIRST line of defense is the U.S. military working with partners in radical Islam’s backyard keeping them over there so they can’t hurt us here at home or hurt our allies like Israel."

Updated at 3:58 p.m.