Trump's Syria announcement blindsided many GOP supporters

Posted Thursday, 10 October 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

WASHINGTON — For once, Republicans and Democrats in Congress were in the same place: out of the loop. When it came to President Donald Trump's abrupt announcement that U.S. forces would no longer protect Syrian Kurds from a Turkish invasion, his supporters knew as little as his critics. All the effort by Republicans to assuage and court the mercurial president meant little in terms of their ability to dissuade him from a decision that most of them vehemently opposed. They found out about it like Democrats, late at night and on Twitter. For Republicans, it was a reminder that having the president's back can be a one-way proposition, especially with a commander in chief who likes to make decisions from his "gut." Even as Turkish bombs fell Wednesday on northern Syria, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a frequent Trump golf club buddy and a presidential educator on foreign policy, talked to the president through television appearances and Twitter. He warned on "Fox & Friends," a program that Trump is known to make part of his morning routine, that he's making the "biggest mistake of his presidency." "It is never wise to abandon an ally who has sacrificed on your behalf," Graham, a South Carolina Republican, tweeted at one point. He was referring to U.S.-backed Kurdish forces fighting ISIS. But that advice might also apply to Trump's relationship with his GOP allies, most of whom lined up in rare agreement with Democrats against the president's Syria policy. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whom Trump has referred to as "my Kevin," said on Fox that he would have to call the president. On Wednesday, the California Republican tweeted that the Turkish attack "threatens to halt momentum against ISIS, directly assaults" partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces "and could give the likes of al-Qaeda and Iran new footholds in the region." One of the only Republicans in Congress supportive of a Syria withdrawal, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, told reporters on a conference call that he heard about Trump's shift of U.S. forces from the media. The Republicans appeared to be as in the dark as a bipartisan delegation with several first-term House Democrats who heard about Trump's pullback in Syria while on a flight home from an official trip to Turkey, Afghanistan and Jordan. They quickly cobbled together a joint statement as they waited in customs at Dulles International Airport. Some sat on a bench at baggage claim to write it. Signing on was delegation member Elise Stefanik, a Republican congresswoman from New York, who also tweeted the condemnation of Trump's policy. Two lawmakers on the trip said that even Trump appointees they met overseas did not indicate that they knew about the president's plans. "Quite the opposite," said Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado. "Nowhere in the conversation (overseas) was what happens if the United States condones, accept or even encourages" any moves by Turkey, said Rep. Abigail Spanberger, another first-term Democrat who was part of the delegation. It all highlighted the unpredictability of Trump's foreign policy, which has confounded enemies and allies alike. The president likes to make decisions with little warning, often in the form of a tweet. Longtime U.S. allies are often the last to know. "The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!" Trump tweeted, pledging to punish Turkey economically if it goes too far in its assault. Trump's habit of abrupt U-turns and embellishment is part of his operating style. "Predicting what Trump will do begins with accepting that he strives for surprise," said Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio. "He also prefers to create both the problem and the solution, so he can appear to be a savior." Graham, a sharp-spoken critic of Trump during the 2016 election, has turned into a staunch ally. He frequently flatters the president, even kicking off his Syria criticism by saying earlier in the week, "I like President Trump. I've tried to help him." For the third day running, Graham tweeted foreign policy lessons in staccato missives against Trump's isolationist tendencies. "American isolationism: (asterisk) Did not work before WWII. (asterisk) Did not work before 9/11.(asterisk) Will not work now," he wrote. Graham urged prayers for "our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration," adding, "This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS." That followed a remark that seemed certain to get the president's attention, likening Trump's decision to one made by Democrat Barack Obama to stand down American forces in Iraq. "No matter what President Trump is saying about his decision," the South Carolina Republican tweeted, "it is EXACTLY what President Obama did in Iraq with even more disastrous consequences for our national security." Trump did not back off. He announced Tuesday that he and Erdogan will meet at the White House on Nov. 13.

Other articles published by Las Vegas Sun

Posted Saturday, 29 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A Las Vegas man who attacked family members in a brawl at Disneyland that was captured on viral video is going to jail. Avery Robinson, 35, was sentenced Thursday in Orange County to six months in county jail and ordered to attend a ...

Posted Saturday, 29 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

A judge set bail at $50,000 and ordered house arrest for a 47-year-old Metro Police officer accused of engaging in sex acts with girls he encountered at the junior-and-senior high school in the Colorado River resort town of Laughlin. Christopher Peto’s ...

Posted Saturday, 29 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

WASHINGTON — A political advocacy group founded by Bernie Sanders entered into a nondisclosure agreement with an African American political consultant that bars her from discussing a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination at the organization and the...

Posted Saturday, 29 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Surrounded by other state leaders at a news conference Friday afternoon, Gov. Steve Sisolak spoke of the state’s preparation to handle the coronavirus, which some fear could become widespread in the United States.  Sisolak took a fatherly approach in...

Posted Saturday, 29 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Surrounded by other state leaders at a news conference Friday afternoon, Gov. Steve Sisolak spoke of the state’s preparation to handle the coronavirus, which some fear could become widespread in the United States.  Sisolak took a fatherly approach in...

Posted Saturday, 29 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

A major summit of Asian leaders scheduled for Las Vegas in the second week of March has been postponed by the Trump administration over growing fears of the coronavirus further spreading in the United States, several news outlets are reporting. The...

Posted Saturday, 29 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Peter DeBoer's gameday press conference came with good news and bad news for Golden Knights fans, when the Golden Knights coach announced that forward Mark Stone will miss tonight's game against the Buffalo Sabres and goalie Robin Lehner will make his...

Posted Friday, 28 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Two corrections officers were arrested today in the beating of a jail inmate in his cell after an argument with one of the officers, according to Metro Police. A Clark County Detention Center inmate alleged on Feb. 21 that he was beaten by two officers...

Posted Friday, 28 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

DeMarco Murray will go down as one of the best football players to come out of Las Vegas. You can also argue that he deserves credit for starting the Bishop Gorman dynasty. Long before Murray led the NFL in rushing in 2014 with the Dallas Cowboys, or had ...

Posted Friday, 28 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The coronavirus is bringing a sense of fear to many people worldwide, and understandably so: the respiratory illness that originated in China has led to 2,462 deaths and has spread to at least 60 countries. The risk of the virus continuing to spread...

Posted Friday, 28 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

A 72-year-old man was arrested on a murder count today after a woman, 75, was found dead this morning with blunt force trauma to her head, according to Henderson Police. Officers responded about 9:15 a.m. today to a call of unknown trouble in the 600...

Posted Friday, 28 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

There’s no need for any qualifiers about the American Hockey League coming to the Las Vegas Valley. The AHL Board of Governors approved the sale and relocation of the AHL franchise in San Antonio, Texas, to the Golden Knights, who will move the team to ...

Posted Friday, 28 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Nevada hasn’t had any reported cases of the coronavirus, the respiratory illness that originated in China. But the virus has spread to some 60 countries, and things could get worse, including in Nevada and the rest of the United States. The head of the ...

Nevada governor to speak about coronavirus preparations Posted Friday, 28 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Gov. Steve Sisolak is scheduled to speak today about the steps Nevada is taking to prepare to combat the coronavirus. Sisolak has set a news conference for 3:15 p.m. today. There have been no cases of coronavirus in Nevada, though health officials are...

Posted Friday, 28 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Raymond Santana, one of the members of the so-called Central Park Five, spent five years in prison for a crime for which he was later exonerated. The 45-year-old Santana will tell his story at 6 p.m. tonight at CSN’s North Las Vegas Campus as part of...