Congressional Republicans have been swift in their rebuke of President Donald Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw U.S. troops from Syria in a move seen as a betrayal of Kurdish allies that cedes ground to ISIS, Iran and Russia.
Alaska’s U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan along with U.S. Rep. Don Young joined the chorus, marking a rare moment where Alaska’s all-Republican congressional delegation has been united in criticizing the president.
Sullivan, who is typically friendly to Trump, bashed the decision in a series of tweets on Monday. Sullivan has experience in the U.S. State Department under President George W. Bush and is currently a reserve member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
“I do not support @POTUS plan to withdraw U.S. troops, allowing for a Turkish operation in northern Syria,” he wrote. “This decision will likely lead to increased Iranian influence; expand the power vacuum likely to be filled by Russian and Iranian proxies; and would raise the likelihood that ISIS prisoners will be released or escape from detention.”
The abrupt withdrawal, Sullivan said, will likely harm the U.S.’s efforts to work with other allied forces.
“While I agree that our troops should not be in Syria indefinitely, such a precipitous withdraw and an abandonment of our Kurdish allies would make it harder in the future to attract partner forces to work with America,” he said.
Sullivan stopped short of asking the president to reverse course on the decision in his tweets. Murkowski, who’s been a more regular critic of Trump on some issues, made such a request in her tweeted response to the decision.
“Withdrawing from Syria in this way not only betrays our long-standing Kurdish allies but creates space for an ISIS resurgence,” she wrote. “We are already hearing disturbing reports from the region. I urge the president to reconsider this abrupt and unsettling decision.”
And finally, U.S. Rep. Don Young joined Alaska’s senators on Tuesday. His tweets didn’t specifically mention the president, only the “absence of American leadership overseas.”
“The absence of American leadership overseas only serves to create voids that will be filled by America’s adversaries — including Iran,” he tweeted. “In addition to allowing for the resurgence of ISIS, this move calls into question America’s commitment to our allies. We should be standing with the Kurds and against Turkish operations in Northern Syria.”
Why it matters
When even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is bashing Trump over the decision, the president is really on his own on this one at a time when he needs Congressional Republicans to continue to provide cover in the mounting talk of impeachment.
Still, counting on this move to truly move the need on Republicans’ support for Trump is wishful thinking. As we’ve seen multiple times, Republican social media rebukes of the president ultimately amount to nothing.
A quick scan through the responses to the Alaska Congressional delegation’s response will net plenty of people wondering if the delegation will do anything more than giving the president a verbal slap on the wrist.