Mitt Romney denounces Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from Syria and says abandonment of the Kurds will be a ‘blood stain in the annals of American history’
- Utah Senator Mitt Romney says the retreat from supporting Kurdish allies on the border with Turkey ‘strikes at American honor’
- ‘The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory. It is far from a victory’
- Said of Kurds: ‘Their homes have been burned and their families have been torn apart’
- He called it ‘far from a victory’
- Noted the U.S. had to bomb some of its own abandoned positions
- Did not mention President Trump by name but called for congressional oversight
Utah Senator Mitt Romney denounced the Trump administration’s sudden withdrawal from Syria and called its impact on Kurdish allies a ‘blood stain’ on American honor.
Romney, who has also called initial reports of Trump’s pressure on Ukraine ‘wrong and appalling,’ made his comments in a stern speech delivered from the floor of the Senate.
He acknowledged what Vice President Pence called a new five-day cease fire following his meeting with Turkish President Recep Erdogan, then said: ‘I hope the agreement is honored.’
Utah Senator Mitt Romney says the retreat from supporting Kurdish allies on the border with Turkey ‘strikes at American honor’
Romney asked ‘why these terms and assurances were not negotiated before the president consented to withdraw our troops.’
‘The cease-fire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally, adding insult to dishonor,’ he intoned.
He spoke of the suffering being endured by Kurdish allies who fought alongside U.S. troops to battle ISIS, and noted that ‘Russia has assumed control of our previous military positions’ and that the U.S. had even been forced to bomb some of the nation’s own facilities amid the hasty retreat.
His words were in marked contrast to the president’s, as Trump called the ceasefire a ‘great day for civilization’ and called it an ‘incredible outcome.’
‘The decision to abandon the Kurds violates one of our most sacred duties. It strikes at American honor. What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a blood stain in the annals of American history,’ said Romney.
Romney blasted the Trump administration’s sudden policy shift in a Senate floor speech
President Donald Trump speaks to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the opening ceremony of the NATO summit in July 2018
He continued: ‘There are broad strategic implications of our decision as well. Iranian and Russian interests in the Middle East have been advanced by our decision. At a time when we’re applying maximum pressure on Iran by giving them a stronger hand in Syria, we’ve actually weakened that pressure. Russia’s objective to play a greater role in the Middle East has also been greatly enhanced. The Kurds, out of desperation, have now aligned with Assad,’ a reference to dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Romney also questioned how the chaotic events – a rapid advance by Turkey, shelling of the Kurds, and a cease fire that might cement gains by Turkey – made the U.S. appear diplomatically.
‘Are we so weak and inept diplomatically that Turkey forced the hand of the United States of America? Turkey?” Romney asked. “I believe that it’s imperative that public hearings are held to answer these questions, and I hope the Senate is able to conduct those hearings next week.”
He said Turkey may have ‘called America’s bluff. ‘If that’s so, we should know it. For it would tell us a great deal about how we should deal with Turkey, now and in the future,’ he said.
Without mentioning President Trump by name, he spoke glowingly of the Kurds, who Trump disparaged Wednesday as ‘no angels.’
‘The administration speaks cavalierly, even flippantly, even as our ally has suffered death and casualty. Their homes have been burned and their families have been torn apart,’ Romney said.