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

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBipartisan senators call on China to close all wet markets Bipartisan lawmakers call for global 'wet markets' ban amid coronavirus crisis Trump attacks WHO amid criticism of his coronavirus response MORE (R-S.C.) on Wednesday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license 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.

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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.