Trump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout 

Trump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE told a group of Republican senators Wednesday evening that he is sticking with his plan to draw down U.S. forces in Syria and Afghanistan, marking a new era in American foreign policy. 

Trump’s call to stick with his controversial decision to pull out of Syria and dramatically reduce forces in Afghanistan was praised by Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.), a libertarian conservative who has long criticized American foreign policy for relying too much on military intervention. 

“I really am proud of the president for making an argument that really no president in recent history has made and that is that we’ve been at war too long in too many places and he’s really going to make a difference,” Paul said after meeting with Trump at the White House.

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Trump met one-on-one with Paul and then had a subsequent meeting with a larger group of Republican senators, including Paul and Sens. John CornynJohn CornynCOVID-19 bill limiting liability would strike the wrong balance From a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters Skepticism grows over Friday deadline for coronavirus deal MORE (Texas), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioChina sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead PPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  MORE (Fla.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstWill the next coronavirus relief package leave essential workers behind? Hillicon Valley: Facebook bans ads from pro-Trump PAC | Uber reports big drop in revenue | US offers M reward for election interference info Senate passes legislation to ban TikTok on federal devices MORE (Iowa), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanLincoln Project targets Senate races in Alaska, Maine, Montana with M ad buy Overnight Energy: Official says protesters not cleared from Lafayette Square for Trump | Trump administration blasts banks refusing to fund Arctic drilling | 2019 coal production hit lowest level since 1978 Trump administration blasts banks that refuse to fund arctic drilling MORE (Alaska) and Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire Trump goes viral after mispronouncing Yosemite MORE (S.D.). 

“Not only is he following through with his Syria policy, I really do think there will be changes in Afghanistan as well,” Paul said. “If you look at the polling data for the American people, I think the American people are with the president and they’re tired, frankly, of both parties who are unwilling to stand up and say enough is enough.”

To back up his position, Trump pointed out how much U.S. taxpayers have spent on “gas stations, luxury hotels” and other projects in Afghanistan, Paul said. 

Asked about Trump’s Afghanistan policy, Paul said “in general the idea is we’re going to do things differently.”

“We’re not going to stay forever. The Afghans will need to step up. The Afghans will need to begin fighting their own wars and taking care of their country,” Paul said. “It’s not that we’ll do nothing. I think the president still will help them. I think we’ll still actually probably be there longer than I would like to be."

“But the president, I think, is willing to acknowledge that America’s longest war needs to come to a close and that we need to learn how to declare victory,” he added.

Trump shocked Republicans on Capitol Hill last month when he announced he would withdraw 2,000 troops from Syria, declaring in a video “We have won against ISIS,” referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and “our boys, our young women, our men — they’re all coming back, and they’re coming back now.” 

On Wednesday, four Americans on a patrol were killed in Syria in a suicide bombing. ISIS took credit for the attack. 

National security adviser John Bolton contradicted the president earlier this month by saying during a trip to Israel that certain “objectives” must be met before troops leave Syria, and acknowledged that some ISIS forces remain active. 

Bolton said that ISIS must be destroyed and the safety of Kurdish allies guaranteed before U.S. forces leave. 

The Trump administration also announced last month that it would begin withdrawing about 7,000 troops from Afghanistan — about half the number deployed to the region. 

“I will tell you that if you look at his language and his tweets on endless war and you hear him talk about how long this has gone on, I think you’re really seeing one of the extraordinary things that people couldn’t figure out: How did Donald Trump get elected? It was because he doesn’t fit neatly in a box. He was a different kind of Republican who actually looked at the issues of war and said, ‘You know what? We ought to think of America first,’ ” Paul said. 

Paul declined to reveal any specifics Trump shared about his timelines for withdrawal.

“We talked extensively about Syria. He talked about how we will continue to make sure that ISIS is not a problem but at the same time, we will not just go into theater and stay forever. I think he was steadfast in that,” Paul said.