foreign policy

Trump Defends Syria Policy in Series of Wild, Authoritarian Tweets

“My great and unmatched wisdom.” Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

In a handful of truly nutty tweets, President Trump responded Monday to criticism from both Democrats and Republicans about his decision to allow Turkey to invade northern Syria. The change in policy, announced Sunday night, will see U.S. troops vacate northern Syria, allowing Turkey to sweep in and, many fear, decimate the Kurdish forces that have long allied themselves with the U.S.

The Kurdish fighters are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which have fought ISIS alongside U.S. forces in the area for years. But Turkey considers them a terrorist group, and SDF forces are not feeling good about their future. “The Americans are traitors. They have abandoned us to a Turkish massacre,” a Kurdish official in Syria told NBC News overnight.

Criticism of Trump’s decision, which reportedly blindsided the Pentagon, came from even reliable allies, including GOP senators Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. Graham, who is threatening to bring a Senate resolution condemning the pullout of U.S. troops, called the decision a “disaster in the making.” Rubio said the abandonment of the Kurds is “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.” Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley tweeted that the U.S is “leaving [the Kurds] to die.” On Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined in:

These rebukes, unsurprisingly, did not cause Trump to reconsider. Instead, he tweeted that he is keeping campaign promises to get the U.S. “out of these ridiculous endless wars.” He also seemed to acknowledge one of the greatest risks of cutting off support for the SDF — that ISIS will be able to regain strength. How would the U.S. respond to that? “[W]e can always go back & BLAST!” he tweeted, seemingly suggesting that a resurgent ISIS could be squashed with a campaign of air strikes.

If that’s not wild enough for you, Trump followed those two tweets with another blockbuster. He boasted of his “great and unmatched wisdom” and threatened to “totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey” in a tweet that is among Trump’s most bizarrely authoritarian.

The countdown to the Trump campaign selling “great and unmatched wisdom” shirts begins now.

This post was updated to include remarks from Mitch McConnell.

Trump Defends Syria Policy in Wild, Authoritarian Tweets