Graham: 'Obama-like mistake' for Trump to withdraw troops from Syria

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan MORE (R-S.C.) on Wednesday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, saying the move would be an "Obama-like mistake."

"If these media reports are true, it will be an Obama-like mistake made by the Trump Administration," Graham wrote in a statement. "While American patience in confronting radical Islam may wane, the radical Islamists’ passion to kill Americans and our allies never wavers."

Earlier Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post reported that Trump is planning to "immediately" remove 2,000 troops from northern Syria.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump appeared to confirm the reports in a tweet Wednesday, saying that the U.S. has "defeated" the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria.

"We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency," he tweeted.

Graham, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, added that a withdrawal "would be a big win" for ISIS, Iran, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Russia. 

"I fear it will lead to devastating consequences for our nation, the region, and throughout the world. ... Staying there is an insurance policy against the reemergence of ISIS and destruction of our Kurdish allies who fought so bravely against them," he added. 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also said in a statement Wednesday that the U.S. had defeated ISIS in Syria and confirmed that the U.S. was beginning to remove troops.

“Five years ago, ISIS was a very powerful and dangerous force in the Middle East, and now the United States has defeated the territorial caliphate. These victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign. We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign," Sanders said.