President Trump may have temporarily lost the faith of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Wednesday after announcing the withdrawal of troops from Syria. Graham, who was one of the president's loudest defenders this past year, accused Trump of making an "Obama-like mistake." He suggested that the U.S. is not as far along as it thinks in its effort to defeat ISIS and he offered a preview of the potential consequences of a military withdrawal.
Withdrawal of this small American force in Syria would be a huge Obama-like mistake. https://t.co/atsjHUyJlB— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 19, 2018
With all due respect, ISIS is not defeated in Syria, Iraq, and after just returning from visiting there -- certainly not Afghanistan.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 19, 2018
President @realDonaldTrump is right to want to contain Iranian expansion.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 19, 2018
However, withdrawal of our forces in Syria mightily undercuts that effort and put our allies, the Kurds at risk.
It remains unclear the timeline for withdrawing but it looks to have not made Republicans in Congress happy.
Graham's criticism calls to mind Obama's failure to impose his red line warning to Syria in 2013 after Bashar al Assad used chemical weapons. Trump didn't make the same mistake when Assad again used chemical agents and promptly employed U.S. military action to put pressure on the dictator in April. Under Trump's leadership, the U.S. struck several chemical weapons facilities.
Now, the president's supporters say he is backtracking on that progress. According to Graham, Trump's decision to withdraw troops will be viewed "as a boost to ISIS desire to come back."