Foreign Affairs

Trump Betrays the Kurds, Republicans…Speak Up?

Will anything be done?
by Jim Swift
October 7, 2019
Featured Image
An explosion rocks the Syrian city of Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by ISIS on October 20, 2014. (Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)

There’s a scene at the end of Scent of a Woman where Colonel Frank Slade gives his epic speech defending Charlie Simms from expulsion: “When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. And it has fallen here. It has fallen!” 

This is where we are with Syria, as it was announced earlier this morning that President Trump will end joint operations with Turkey, removing U.S. troops. In a hasty move, the president has shown allies that the cradle of leadership that is American power and sensibility has fallen.

The Kurds, long allied with the United States, will now be left to fend for themselves with ISIS and Turkey on either side. Not to mention Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian military. 

How the Kurds will fare absent U.S. support cannot be known for sure, but the range of possibilities don’t seem too promising. 

Unlike many of the scandals in recent weeks, where GOP elected officials, thought leaders, and former administration officials have gone into their shells, we’re seeing something different here: actual pushback.

Here’s a roundup of what folks are saying and doing. (This list will be updated.) 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

President Trump’s former U.N. Ambassador:

Senator Marco Rubio:

Senator Mitt Romney:

Senator Ted Cruz:

Senator Pat Toomey:

Senator Marsha Blackburn:

Representative Vicky Hartzler:

Representative Brad Wenstrup:

Representative Pete Olson:

Representative Liz Cheney:

Senator Lindsey Graham:

Representative Michael Waltz:

Representative Adam Kinzinger:

Former Republican, now Independent Representative Justin Amash:

The Dean of Fox News, Brit Hume:

Representative Elise Stefanik:

Representative Steve King:

President Trump, responding to the pushback, tweeted this:

A few hours later, President Trump’s Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, weighed in in a since-deleted tweet:

While ISIS territory has been greatly curtailed, it’s not true to say that the U.S. captured 100% of its former caliphate (or that anyone has). ISIS still remains a threat. President seems to trust Turkey enough to not massacre the Kurds. Whereas folks like his former U.N. ambassador and those above, do not.

Hopefully the President’s “great and unmatched” wisdom won’t result in a genocide of longtime U.S. allies.

Jim Swift

Jim Swift is a senior editor at The Bulwark.