Several Republican lawmakers have made it publicly clear that they were caught off-guard and not pleased with President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.
And behind closed doors, Trump — apparently influenced by a phone call with the President of Turkey, who criticized U.S. involvement in Syria — went against the advice of some of his most trusted advisers and high-ranking officials, The Washington Post reported.
According to people familiar with the issue who spoke to the Post, Trump made up his mind on Tuesday after a meeting with White House aides, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Most of those in attendance reportedly strongly disagreed with Trump’s instincts.
Mattis argued to Trump that ISIS was still in operation in Syria, and a pullout of the 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in the area would fuel mayhem. The President ignored the advice.
One source who spoke to the Post said the decision was a “clear rebuke” — in the Post’s words — of Mattis, who Trump has increasingly ostracized in recent months.
Trump’s decision shocked many of the U.S.’s closest allies in the area who have joined the U.S. in its fight against the Islamic State and were apprised of the decision before it was announced, according to the Post.
Several people familiar with the situation told the Post that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was also blindsided by the decision and wasn’t given a heads-up until Trump shared it on Twitter.