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GOP lawmakers blast Trump's Syria decision as 'grave mistake,' 'disaster in the making'

Republican lawmakers on Monday panned President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of a planned Turkish invasion, marking the latest break within the party over foreign policy.
 
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.
 
But Republicans are warning that the decision will bolster U.S. adversaries, including ISIS, and put the lives of Kurdish allies in the region at risk.
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Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Lou Dobbs goes after Lindsey Graham: 'I don't know why anyone' would vote for him  MORE (R-S.C.) blasted the administration during an appearance on Fox News's "Fox & Friends," and in a tweet thread, calling it a "disaster in the making" and "shortsighted." 

"I don’t know all the details regarding President Trump’s decision in northern Syria. In process of setting up phone call with Secretary Pompeo. If press reports are accurate this is a disaster in the making," Graham tweeted
 
Graham has emerged as a vocal ally of Trump's, but the two men have different foreign policy views. Trump ran in 2016 pledging to pull back U.S. involvement in the Middle East, while Graham is viewed as a longtime defense hawk. 
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (R-Ky.) signaled on Monday that he thinks Trump should back down from the decision and warned him against making a "precipitous withdrawal."

"I urge the President to exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners," McConnell said in a statement.
 
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning Trump's new interest in water resources — why now? MORE (R-Fla.), who serves with Graham on the Foreign Relations Committee, warned that pulling back troops in northern Syria would be a "grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria." 

"It would confirm #Iran’s view of this administration & embolden then to escalate hostile attacks which in turn could trigger much broader & more dangerous regional war," Rubio added.
 
Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyWill anyone from the left realize why Trump won — again? Ratings drop to 55M for final Trump-Biden debate Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning MORE (R-Utah), another member of the Foreign Relations Committee, also knocked Trump in the latest in a recent series of high-profile breaks with the president.
 
"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.
 
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Murkowski says she will vote to confirm Barrett to Supreme Court on Monday Biden's oil stance jars Democrats in tough races MORE (R-Maine), who is up for reelection in 2020, added in a statement that it was a "terribly unwise decision by the President to abandon our Kurdish allies."
 
 
“He needs to know that this bad decision will likely result in the slaughter of allies who fought with us, including women and children. I hope the President will listen to his generals and reconsider. And before Turkey butchers innocent Kurds, Erdogan should carefully consider his privileged status as a NATO member. The American people don’t partner with genocidal regimes," Sasse said in a statement, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 
 
The senators were joined by several of their House colleagues, as well as former administration officials. 
 
Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Steve King defends past comments on white supremacy, blasts NYT and GOP leaders in fiery floor speech GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power MORE (R-Wyo.), a member of House leadership who is weighing a Senate bid, called Trump's decision a "catastrophic mistake that puts our gains against ISIS at risk and threatens US security." 

"This decision ignores lesson of 9/11. Terrorists thousands of miles away can and will use their safe-havens to launch attacks against America," she added in a tweet.
 
 
"Not only will this decision further destabilize the region, it will make it more difficult for the U.S. to recruit allies & partners to defeat terrorist groups like ISIS," she added.
 
Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerFox News reporter defends confirming Atlantic piece despite Trump backlash: 'I feel very confident' GOP lawmaker defends Fox reporter after Trump calls for her firing Lindsey Graham: 'QAnon is bats--- crazy' MORE (R-Ill.) said withdrawing U.S. troops from the area would "abandon our friends and give Russia & Iran exactly what they want. This is wrong." 
 
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And Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingDemocrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade Treasury withheld nearly M from FDNY 9/11 health program Trump holds private funeral service for brother Robert Trump at White House  MORE (R-N.Y.), who sits on both the Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees, also voiced his disapproval. "Strongly disagree with @POTUS Trump decision to allow Erdogan to invade Syria. Betrays Kurds, strengthens ISIS and endangers American homeland," King tweeted.
 
Meanwhile, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyGraham says SC people of color can go anywhere in the state but 'need to be conservative, not liberal' 'The soul' versus 'law and order' Author Ryan Girdusky: RNC worked best when highlighting 'regular people' as opposed to 'standard Republicans' MORE called the Kurds "instrumental" against ISIS and said "leaving them to die is a big mistake." 
 
Foreign policy has been a rolling point of contention between Trump and GOP allies on Capitol Hill. 
 
Republicans forced through new Russia sanctions in 2017 despite reported opposition from the White House, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered an amendment earlier this year warning the administration against withdrawing troops for Syria or Afghanistan. 
 
 
"I stand with @realDonaldTrump today as he once again fulfills his promises to stop our endless wars and have a true America First foreign policy," he tweeted.
 
Trump doubled down on Monday morning, saying it was time to end U.S. involvement in "ridiculous endless wars."
 
"The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades. I held off this fight for … almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” Trump tweeted.
 
"WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN,” the president added.
 
Trump warned in a follow-up tweet that if Turkey does anything "off limits," the United States will "totally destroy and obliterate" its economy in an apparent reference to sanctions.
 
"As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)," Trump said.
 
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. The Kurds have proven to be among the U.S.'s most effective allies in the fight against ISIS. 
 
Trump's decision was widely viewed as an endorsement of Turkey's planned military operation. Turkey, which views the Kurdish forces a terrorist insurgency, has long been frustrated with the U.S. alliance with the group. 
 
With Congress in the middle of a two-week recess, it's unclear what, if anything, Republicans will be able to do to persuade Trump to change his mind, aside from waging a public and private pressure campaign. 
 
The U.S. began pulling back troops from the Turkish-Syrian border early Monday, according to multiple reports.
 
Graham warned in a tweet that if Trump followed through with the plan to pull back U.S. troops that he would introduce a resolution to try to formally oppose him. A spokesman for Graham wasn't immediately able to share details of the resolution, but noted that it was being drafted. 
 
"If this plan goes forward will introduce Senate resolution opposing and asking for reversal of this decision. Expect it will receive strong bipartisan support," he wrote. 
 
Graham added during his Fox News interview that he would also try to slap new sanctions on Turkey if they move troops into Syria. 
 
"I hope I'm making myself clear how shortsighted and irresponsible this decision is in my view," he said. "This to me is just unnerving to its core."
 
Graham added that he would "do everything I can to sanction Turkey's military and their economy if they step one foot into Syria."
 
—This report was updated at 2:08 p.m.