Mayor Pete Decries Trump’s Decision to Withdraw Troops from Northern Syria

“[This] is the president systematically destroying American alliances and American values.”

Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a forum on Friday, June 21, 2019, in Miami.Brynn Anderson

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Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg excoriated President Donald Trump and his administration Sunday morning for the decision to withdraw the remaining  US troops out of northern Syria in the coming weeks. On CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Buttigieg said, “This isn’t even a strategy or a policy—it is the president systematically destroying American alliances and American values and that makes America worse off.” 

Buttigieg is speaking from experience on the ground. He’s a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan as a Navy intelligence officer and has openly criticized Trump for avoiding service in the Vietnam War. “This is somebody who, I think it’s fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact that he was the child of a multimillionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place,” he said, according to NBC News.

Now, Turkey has launched a military offensive against neighboring Syria just days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke with Trump on a call that has been described by officials as including “various diplomatic exchanges.” In the call, Trump reportedly made a spur-of-the-moment decision to pull out of Turkey, which surprised his advisers. 

The situation in Syria has deteriorated steadily since that call. Brett McGurk, who has served as a national security advisor in the last three White House administrations, outlined on Twitter that hundreds of thousands of people have already been displaced and ISIS is moving into the newly vulnerable part of Syria.

New York Times White House reporter Katie Rogers says that ISIS flags have already been spotted in the countryside near the Turkish border:

And the New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi reported that ISIS detainees in the area have escaped:

On Sunday, Trump tried to rationalize his foreign policy via Twitter, saying that the two camps have been at war for years and that he is monitoring the situation closely. He also proposed imposing sanctions on Turkey.

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