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 BlackburnTrump must cut our dependence on Chinese drugs — whatever it takes Senate passes House's coronavirus aid bill, sending it to Trump Nikki Haley expected to endorse Loeffler in Senate race MORE (Tenn.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOutgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump selects White House lawyer for coronavirus inspector general Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill 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. 

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“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 TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill 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 ShaheenWho should be the Democratic vice presidential candidate? McConnell sets Friday night deadline for bipartisan deal on stimulus American citizen released from Lebanese prison, returning to US 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 GrahamGraham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill UN biodiversity chief calls for international ban of 'wet markets' Graham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets 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