Amash rips Trump over move to send troops from Syria to Iraq
Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) on Sunday called out President Trump over the administration’s decision to move U.S. troops from northern Syria to Iraq, saying it conflicts with Trump’s repeated calls to bring forces home.
“Trump’s words: Bring them home. Trump’s action: Send them to Iraq,” Amash, who left the Republican Party earlier this year to become an Independent, said on Twitter.
Trump’s words: Bring them home.
Trump’s action: Send them to Iraq. https://t.co/yMAoFVMejV
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) October 20, 2019
While addressing the issue on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, Amash added that it was “pretty clear” Trump wasn’t bringing the troops home.
“He’s moving troops back into Iraq. He’s moving other troops into Saudi Arabia,” Amash said, referring to the Pentagon’s recent move to deploy additional personnel, aircraft and missile defense equipment to Saudi Arabia. “He’s using our forces as paid mercenaries. What happened to the American people having their voices heard through their representatives in Congress?”
“It’s pretty clear [President Trump’s] not bringing home the troops. He’s just moving them to other parts of the Middle East.” pic.twitter.com/JzztwiieM6
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 20, 2019
Trump earlier this month abruptly announced that the U.S. would pull roughly 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of a planned Turkish incursion in the region. In the wake of bipartisan pushback, Trump has repeatedly defended the move as an effort to get the U.S. out of “endless” wars in the Middle East.
But Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Sunday that more than 700 soldiers being removed from Syria would be relocated to western Iraq, where they would help defend the country and conduct operations to prevent an ISIS resurgence.
“Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal, but that’s the game plan right now,” Esper said.
Amash has been outspoken in his opposition to the U.S. military’s presence in Syria, saying that the mission should not have been conducted without congressional approval. But he stressed that Trump should have considered the “obvious consequences” that would come from a Turkish invasion before deciding to move troops out of the area.
“He certainly knew what Turkey would do. Then he acts surprised that they’re committing acts of violence. I think you don’t wait until after withdrawing troops to pressure Turkey to ease up,” Amash said on NBC, referencing the five-day cease-fire Vice President Pence recently announced. The cease-fire temporarily suspended the Turkish incursion.
Many lawmakers and former Pentagon officials, including ex-Defense Secretary James Mattis, have voiced fears that the abrupt removal of U.S. troops would lead to a resurgence of ISIS. Amash said last week that the decision would allow Turkey to “escalate war,” adding that Trump wasn’t “ending anything.”