WASHINGTON – The House Wednesday overwhelmingly backed aresolution condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, a rare bipartisan rebuke at a time when the president is trying to shore up GOP support to stave off impeachment.
Shortly after the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted that the White House cancelled a briefing for lawmakers on Syria, “denying the Congress its right to be informed as it makes decisions about our national security.”
Trump’s decision to remove the troops near the Turkish border has allowed Turkey to lodge an attack on U.S. Kurdish allies who helped in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS.
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a co-sponsor of the resolution, said the pullout has stained America’s reputation as a dependable partner.
“We told them: ‘Trust us. We have your back’,” McCaul said on the House floor minutes before the vote. “And what is happening now? The Kurds are being slaughtered as I speak in northern Syria.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called Trump’s action “shameful” and potentially harmful to the United States.
“It just opened the door for ISIS to reclaim some power,” Hoyer said. “Any terrorist attack they now take will be as a direct result of this action.”
The president tweeted last week that ISIS has been completely defeated and “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.” In addition, Trump has downplayed the alliance with the Kurds, saying they did not fight alongside the United States in World War II.
Trump returned to that theme in a long exchange with reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday, saying that the Kurds are “not angels” and describing his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the region as “strategically brilliant.” The president dismissed reports that Russia had already moved into territory abandoned by the U.S. military.