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U.S. President Donald Trump is facing troubling time in his Turkey-game. His political allies and opponents are furious. Embarrassing sounds are being heard in Washington D.C. while the Democratic leaders walked out of a meeting with Trump on Syria.

Media reports from Washington D.C. said:

Congressional Democrats walked out of a White House meeting on Syria Wednesday, claiming President Trump was demeaning to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“He was insulting, particularly to the speaker. He called her a ‘third-rate politician,’ said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. ‘This was not a dialogue, it was sort of a diatribe.’

Pelosi said Trump was ‘shaken up’ by having lost most Republicans in a Wednesday vote condemning Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

‘What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown, sad to say,’ Pelosi said.

The move came soon after the House overwhelmingly passed bipartisan resolution condemning Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, all but clearing the way for Turkey to invade territory held by the Kurds.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called Pelosi’s decision to walk out ‘baffling, but not surprising.’

‘Speaker Pelosi had no intention of listening or contributing to an important meeting on national security issues,’ Grisham said in a statement. ‘While Democratic leadership chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine, everyone else in the meeting chose to stay in the room and work on behalf of this country.’

Democrats said Pelosi left after Trump called her a third-rate politician, but not before Pelosi said she responded: ‘I wish you were a politician, Mr. President. Then you would know the art of the possible.’

Schumer said some lawmakers from both parties stayed behind, as he did initially, because he wanted to ask a question. “Democrats are also complaining that the administration has cancelled a briefing for lawmakers on Syria that had been scheduled for Thursday.”

 House votes to condemn Trump

The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday overwhelmingly backed a resolution condemning President 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, Pelosi tweeted that the White House cancelled a Thursday 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 launch attack on the Kurdish people in northern Syria.

The House vote was 354-60 with every Democrat and more than two-thirds of the Republicans supporting the measure.

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.”

A “dark day”, a “betrayal”

Trump’s fellow Republicans used words unimaginable in allies’ voice.

Trump’s decision to pull American troops out of northern Syria — triggering a deadly Turkish invasion targeting the U.S.’s erstwhile Syrian Kurdish allies — has unmuzzled GOP lawmakers in a manner seldom seen since Trump entered the White House.

The extent and strong language Republicans are using to assail his policy is Syria has been striking.

A statistical measurement of the party’s disgruntlement was on eye-catching display in the House – an overwhelming 354-60 to voice its opposition to Trump’s troop pullback.

Republicans voted 129-60 for the nonbinding measure, delivering a stinging repudiation of Trump. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and the chamber’s two other top GOP leaders joined in lawmakers’ lopsided slap at Trump’s decision.

Republican defections all the more noteworthy: They came as the two parties are at each other’s throats over the Democratic impeachment inquiry of the president.

While virtually all Republicans have rallied behind Trump in the impeachment fight, this is a moment — barely a year from the 2020 elections — when the White House and GOP lawmakers can ill afford to show divisions.

No one was suggesting the GOP’s schism with Trump over Syria would soften the party’s opposition to tossing him out of office.

No Republicans attacked Trump personally, instead carefully focusing their criticism on the policy.

Still, the unfettered way in which Republicans openly belittled his troop withdrawal was noteworthy, both for its sweep and for the freedom that GOP lawmakers seemed to feel in opposing him.

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called it a “dark day” that would have been “much darker” if the two parties hadn’t united in voicing their opposition to the troop pullback.

No. 3 House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming said Syrian Kurds are “facing what looks like a betrayal” by the U.S.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who’s been a staunch Trump defender since he entered the White House but a critic of his troop withdrawal, said Trump was making “the biggest mistake of this presidency.”

“It’s going to be to the president’s detriment if there’s any attacks on our country, inspired attacks, not directly attacks, then he’ll own it,” Graham said.

Also wading in was Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, who’s not seeking reelection and has clashed with Trump over immigration and other issues.

Hurd called Trump’s withdrawal a “disastrous decision” because the U.S. is abandoning an ally and ceding influence in the region to adversaries like Russia and Iran. He recalled his pre-Congress experience as an undercover CIA counter-terrorism officer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has repeatedly called the move “a mistake” and expressed a determination to do something to correct it, though the answer is unclear.

A former senator and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who had frequent clashes with Trump and retired last year, has made few public statements since leaving Congress but weighed in on Wednesday.

Asked in an interview why the GOP pushback has been so strong, Corker said, “It was such an irresponsible, precipitous decision where thousands of people are going to die. It’s at a whole new level.”

Democrats, of course, showed no hesitance in using even stronger language against Trump.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., labeled the withdrawal a “dangerous and stupid decision.”

And Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a former Marine and Iraq War veteran, said Trump “has never put his life on the line for his country” like U.S. soldiers in Syria have done.

“Perhaps if he had not dodged the draft by lying about his feet, sending another American in his place to Vietnam,” he’d know that “nothing is more evil than betrayal,” Moulton said.

That was a reference to a deferment that allowed Trump to not serve in the Vietnam War due to bone spurs. Critics have accused him of draft dodging because Trump hasn’t been able to recall which foot had the problem.

An irked Trump

President Trump, appearing Wednesday at a press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, at one point was so irked by a question from ABC News White House Correspondent Jon Karl that he brought up one of the network’s mistakes made earlier this week.

Karl asked Trump, “Even after all you have seen — ISIS freed, the humanitarian disaster — you don’t have any regret to giving [Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip] Erdogan the greenlight to invade?”

Trump said that he “didn’t give him the greenlight.”

“When you make a statement like that it is so deceptive,” POTUS said. “It is just the opposite of a greenlight.

“First of all,” he continued, “we have virtually no soldiers there. Mostly gone. Just a tiny group. They would have been in harm’s way. You have a massive army on the other side of the border.”

Trump said that he wrote a “very powerful” letter to Erdogan right after their phone conversation on October 6 but said that Turkey “has been wanting to do that for years, and frankly they have been fighting for many, many years. And when you ask a question like that, it is very deceptive, Jon. It is almost as deceptive as you showing all of the bombings taking place in Syria when it turned out that the bombing that showed on television took place in Kentucky. I am not even sure ABC apologized for that.”

Earlier this week, ABC News issued a correction after airing a video that was said to be of Turkish bombings at the Syrian border. In fact, it was of a 2017 gun demonstration in Kentucky. The network said that it “regrets the error.”

Karl did not address the video but went on with his questions to Trump. They included one about the criticism that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has made about Trump’s rhetoric toward the Kurds.

“Lindsay Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years,” Trump said of Graham’s criticisms.

Earlier in the press conference, Trump nevertheless said that Erdogan’s decision to enter Syria “didn’t surprise me because he has been wanting to do that for a long time.” He also said that the Kurds were “no angels.”

Graham wrote on Twitter before Trump’s press conference, “I firmly believe that if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq.”

Karl is the current president of the White House Correspondents Association.

Former UK military chiefs condemn Trump’s “awful” Syria decision

Senior former commanders in the British military have condemned the way Kurdish allies in Syria have been abandoned by Donald Trump, and spoken of their deep concern about how this has raised the real threat of Isis rising again to carry out attacks in the region and beyond.

The generals, most of whom have taken part in missions in the Middle East and Afghanistan, also point out that the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, which in turn forces other Western troops to depart, has left a security vacuum open to pervading Russian and Iranian influence.

The views of the eminent senior officers, expressed to The Independent, are in contrast to that of the Defence Secretary, who has faced strong criticism from Western allies after attempting to justify Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria by claiming it was essentially a defensive measure.

General Sir David Richards, the former head of the British military, and former commander of international forces in Afghanistan, said: “On an emotional level, and if one being dispassionate, on a tactical level, what is being done to the Kurds is plainly wrong. In fact, it’s pretty awful after all they had done against Isis. But we are also in a situation now where there doesn’t appear to be a coherent strategy in Syria.

“Decisions have been taken by the Trump administration which are very difficult to fathom.

“We do not know what’s going to happen now to a bunch of very violent Isis prisoners, whether they are going to become free again to carry on terrorist attacks,” Sir David told The Independent.

“These decisions also mean that Russian and Iranian influence will grow. I really can’t see how this protects Western interests. It’s quite the opposite.”

General Sir Richard Barrons, the former chief of Joint Forces Command, who had served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, lamented that Trump’s decision has pushed the Kurds to turn to the Assad regime for support.

“The move by President Trump to withdraw US forces was used by the Turks to go into Syria in the guise of a CT (counter terrorism) operation to attack who they see as their Kurdish enemy, and create a zone where they are going to put some of the millions of Syrian refugees in their country,” Sir Richard said.

The American move, Sir Richard said, “has meant that the SDF has been suddenly left without support and this means they have had to turn to the Syrians.

“Are these people going to face justice anywhere, or are these very dangerous people going to be turned out into the wild, to carry out attacks in Europe?” Sir Richard asked.

But Major General Tim Cross, a Balkans and Iraq wars veteran, believes that the U.S. would have probably faced criticism whatever action it took.

“If it decided to reinforce in Syria then America would have been accused by some of being bloodthirsty, of being imperialistic.

“I think a lot of people in America want an end to foreign wars and Trump has tapped into it, he seems very determined to get out of them” he said.

“I think what we are seeing here is a great division in Western views. There are people in Paris and Berlin who say they simply cannot work with Trump. And then you hear people in America who complain about Europe not spending enough in defence, and on terrorism, it’s Europe which is the target, and they say Europe should take the lead in dealing with it. This is a worrying division, which probably won’t be solved for the time being.

“As for the Kurds, there are some good, some bad. But it’s obvious what has happened in this case – the fighters we have been working with have been used against Isis, and then they have been hung out to dry.”

Major General Julian Thompson, former Commandant General of the Royal Marines who he led in the Falklands, now a military historian, said that: “There is obviously a Turkish viewpoint on this. But the way they are going about things have opened them up to a lot of criticism.

“With the Kurds it is a matter of treating allies with decency and honor. The Kurds did a good job against Isis, and this is not the way they should have been treated. The way it was done? Well that seems to be the way this man Mr. Trump does things.”


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