GOP senators say Erdoğan White House invitation should be revoked

GOP senators say Erdoğan White House invitation should be revoked
© Greg Nash

Republican Sens. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnUS lawmakers call on EU to label entire Hezbollah a terrorist organization Hillicon Valley: Trump tweet gets warning again | Australia under cyberattack | North Face pulls Facebook ads Republicans take aim at Google in fight to remove legal shield MORE (Tenn.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRepublicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police Senators aim to limit Trump's ability to remove troops from Germany MORE (Utah) on Wednesday said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s invitation to visit the White House should be revoked over his offensive in northeastern Syria. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“Erdogan’s attack on our Kurdish partners has served to liberate ISIS prisoners, bolster the Assad regime, and strengthen Russia. His invitation to the White House should be revoked,” Blackburn, typically a reliable ally to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE, tweeted. 

 

Romney, an elder statesman within the GOP who has often been critical of the president, added that the White House should “absolutely” revoke the invitation. 

Turkey first launched its offensive last week, targeting Kurdish groups it accuses of being linked to an anti-Turkish insurgency. The move was made after Trump announced he was pulling U.S. troops out of the region and alliance with Kurdish forces.

Blackburn represents Tennessee, which has the largest Kurdish population in the U.S.

Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenWatchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' probe report The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Stagwell President Mark Penn says Trump is losing on fighting the virus; Fauci says U.S. 'going in the wrong direction' in fight against virus Senate passes extension of application deadline for PPP small-business loans MORE (D-N.H.) echoed the call of her Republican colleagues, saying Trump should “publicly revoke” Erdoğan’s invitation “until Turkey pulls back from its current course.”

“It makes no sense to be extending hospitality & niceties while Erdogan refuses to heed international calls for a ceasefire,” she said Tuesday.

 

Trump announced last week after the offensive began that Erdoğan would come to the White House “as my guest” on Nov. 13.

 

Turkey’s military moves have sparked bipartisan backlash in Washington, with many saying it puts Kurdish allies who fought with the U.S. against ISIS in danger. Several lawmakers have announced their intention to introduce sanctions against Ankara over the operation.

Trump has already introduced sanctions of his own, saying in a statement he is slapping sanctions on government officials in Ankara and “any persons contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria.” The sanctions include an increase on steel tariffs from 25 percent to 50 percent and a halt in trade negotiations with Turkey. 

However, lawmakers have also trained their ire on Trump over his decision to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria ahead of the offensive, which many said lifted the chief deterrent to Turkey’s operation.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse | Trump administration awards tech group contract to build 'virtual' wall | Advocacy groups urge Congress to ban facial recognition technologies Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse The Hill's Campaign Report: The political heavyweights in Tuesday's primary fights MORE (R-S.C.), a staunch Trump ally and defense hawk, said the decision is a “disaster in the making” that “ensures [an] ISIS comeback” and “will be a stain on America’s honor for abandoning the Kurds.”

Jordain Carney contributed to this report