[VIDEO] Sen. Coons: Trump’s Syria decision “a great big Christmas gift to the Ayatollah Khamenei, to Vladimir Putin, and Bashar al-Assad”
Sen. Coons: “I couldn't disagree more with this decision. It's a terrible decision, both in how the president made it and in what he's decided to do. I only pray that our president will reconsider.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this morning joined MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“For us to unilaterally withdraw and abandon the Kurds to an almost certain advance by either the Turks or the Iranians or both, I think is just, why would anyone stand alongside us and fight in such an important conflict as our work against ISIS in the future if this is how we treat our partners, the Kurds in this important fight against ISIS? So, you'll see a lot of effort today to try to persuade the president to reverse this decision,” said Senator Coons.
Video and transcript available here.
Excerpts from the transcript are below:
Sen. Coons on Syria: That's right. I couldn't disagree more with this decision. It's a terrible decision, both in how the president made it and in what he's decided to do. I only pray that our president will reconsider, because he managed to unite all of us in the Senate in the last two days. First, we had a very positive day where we all came together and passed a big bold bipartisan criminal justice reform bill and managed to avoid a government shutdown, so the mood was pretty positive yesterday. And then just like a shot of electricity, the message that the president in a tweet announced he was going to withdraw from Syria and hand a great big Christmas gift to the Ayatollah Khamenei, to Vladimir Putin, and Bashar al-Assad of Syria I think unified our Senate in concern, even outrage. You've played earlier in this segment the statement from a wide range of senators. I'll add my voice to them. I pray our president reverses this terrible decision that simply cedes the ground of Syria to ISIS, to Iran, and to Russia. Just a terrible decision.
More on Syria: I don't. My strong impression from other senators I spoke with last night was that none of the relevant senior senators had been consulted or informed before this decision was announced. I think it was announced on Twitter. It's possible because I haven't spoken to every senator that there were some that he consulted with but the idea that it was Senator Rand Paul and Senator Mike Lee who are cheering this and other 90 senators I expect will denounce it, question its wisdom and the process and say this was a grave mistake tells you something about the ways in which President Trump who ran as an unconventional candidate, our only president with no military or elected experience before getting into office has made a decision here that is uniformly condemned by the United States Senate. It shows a lack of consultation. I'm more concerned if he made this decision in direct opposition to advice from the senior levels of our armed forces and our intelligence community who I strongly suspect advised him urgently against making this brazen and ill-considered move.
More on Syria: Joe, you'll hear today very strong, very unified messages to the president begging him to reconsider this decision before he heads off for his two-week golf vacation at Mar-a-Lago. He put out a video as you referenced earlier citing those who fought and sacrificed and died in the conflict against ISIS and my hunch is you'll hear voice from our armed forces, from the Congress, and from the general public saying that the war against ISIS is not won, and that we should best honor the sacrifice and service of our men and women at arms by not ceding this ground, not paving a highway of control of Syria for Iran and bringing this threat right to the threshold of our vital ally Israel. We have the world's most powerful military for a reason. The fight against ISIS was an important and noble and significant effort where we pulled in dozens of other countries. The United States did manage to bring some measure of stability to a part of a country that was destroyed by ISIS, but that fight is not over and not won. For us to unilaterally withdraw and abandon the Kurds to an almost certain advance by either the Turks or the Iranians or both, I think is just, why would anyone stand alongside us and fight in such an important conflict as our work against ISIS in the future if this is how we treat our partners, the Kurds in this important fight against ISIS? So, you'll see a lot of effort today to try to persuade the president to reverse this decision.
Sean Coit at 202-224-5042 or Sean_Coit@coons.senate.gov
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