- The Washington Times
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The House on Wednesday delivered an overwhelming bipartisan rebuke of President Trump’s decision to remove troops from Northern Syria, condemning the move as a grave mistake and a threat to national security.

“That was a betrayal of our partners. It was a gift to Russia, a gift to Iran, a gift to ISIS and a gift to Assad,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot L. Engel said on the House floor. “How can America be trusted to keep its word when we make impulsive decisions that have an immediate and catastrophic impact on millions of people?”

Republican Rep. Mike McCaul, the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, said he shared the administration’s concerns about staying in a long-term war, but Mr. Trump was looking at the wrong solution.

“Leaving Northwest Syria does not resolve the problem that brought us there in the first place. It only creates more,” Mr. McCaul of Texas said.

The resolution ultimately had a strong show of bipartisan support, passing on a 354-60 vote.

However, the president’s decision was not without its defenders.

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida said he was concerned about the situation unfolding with Turkey, which has mounted an incursion into Kurdish areas, but the solution was to remove Turkey from NATO, not stay in the fight.

“Perhaps it is equally logical we should not stay in Syria without a strategy, because in Syria we have tens of thousands of Americans stuck between armies of men of tens of thousands who have been fighting each other for hundreds of years,” he said. “We are not the world’s police force.”

In addition to opposing the decision, the resolution also calls on the administration to come up with a “clear and specific plan” to ensure the defeat of the Islamic State terror group, which has seen a resurgence in light of the troop withdrawal.

The vote came not long before members of both parties are set to meet with Mr. Trump regarding the Syria issue.

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