Candidates unleash on Trump over Syria move, say he's weakening US

Candidates unleash on Trump over Syria move, say he's weakening US
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Members of the Democratic primary field unloaded on President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE over his withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria, arguing the move would weaken the U.S. position in the Middle East and security interests at home.

During an exchange over the ongoing military conflict between Turkish and Kurdish forces, several candidates at Tuesday night's Democratic debate in Ohio attacked Trump for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and called for increased humanitarian protections for Kurdish civilians fleeing the conflict.

“We have an erratic, crazy president who knows not a damn thing about foreign policy and operates out of fear for his own reelection,” former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE (D) said of Trump's Middle East policy, adding that the troop withdrawal was "the most shameful thing any president has done in modern history in terms of foreign policy."

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"The slaughter going on in Syria is not the consequence of American presence, it is the consequence of American withdrawal and betrayal," added South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegOvernight Energy: Sanders scores highest on green group's voter guide | Trump's latest wins for farmers may not undo trade damage | Amazon employees defy company to speak on climate change Sanders surges to first in New Hampshire: poll Majority sees no ties between business experience and political success MORE (D). "Look, I didn't think we should have gone to Iraq in the first place. I think we need to get out of Afghanistan. But it's also the case that a small number of specialized special forces and the intelligence capabilities were the only thing that stood between that part of Syria and what we're seeing now, which is the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS."

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' On The Money: Stocks close with steep losses driven by coronavirus fears | Tax season could bring more refund confusion | Trump's new wins for farmers may not undo trade damage Overnight Energy: Sanders scores highest on green group's voter guide | Trump's latest wins for farmers may not undo trade damage | Amazon employees defy company to speak on climate change MORE (D-Mass.), a critic of the Iraq War, called for a cautious withdrawal of U.S. forces and blamed Trump for a "humanitarian disaster" erupting in northern Syria.

“I don’t think we should have troops in the Middle East, but we should do it in the right way," she said.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP Iowa senator suggests Trump impeachment defense could hurt Biden at caucuses On The Money: Stocks close with steep losses driven by coronavirus fears | Tax season could bring more refund confusion | Trump's new wins for farmers may not undo trade damage Sanders launches first TV ads in Nevada MORE (I-Vt.), a longtime skeptic of U.S. intervention in the Middle East, was the only candidate onstage to definitively say that Turkey was no longer an ally of the United States, blaming the Turkish government for "mass slaughter" of Kurdish forces and civilians.

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Trump, he added, had “wrecked America's ability to do foreign policy" by reversing U.S. foreign policy on a whim, and refusing to protect a U.S. military ally, the Kurds.

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Black caucus in Nevada: 'Notion that Biden has all of black vote is not true' The Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two MORE (D-N.J.) suggested that the move would strengthen Syria's Bashar Assad and Russia's Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinSchiff shows clip of McCain in Trump impeachment trial The need for clear thinking about Russia German president expresses 'sorrow' for Holocaust, warns 'spirits of evil' are rising MORE, and condemned the "retreat" of U.S. forces under danger from Syrian forces.

"We cannot allow the Russians to continue to grow in influence by growing on the world stage," Booker, said, adding, “This president time and time again is showing moral weakness."

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro compared what he said was the hypocrisy of Trump allowing ISIS prisoners to be freed amid chaos in northern Syria while his administration detained thousands of migrants in detention centers in the U.S.

"Think about how absurd it is that this president is caging kids on the border and effectively letting ISIS prisoners run free," Castro said. "He has made a tremendous mistake, a total disaster there in Syria. He's abandoned the very people that we gave our word to."