Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul criticized fellow GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina this week for opposing President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria.
“Lindsey Graham’s been wrong about almost every foreign policy decision of the last two decades,” Paul said Tuesday on MSNBC.
“He was wrong about the Iraq War. The Iraq War was a mistake. It made Iran stronger, allowed more chaos, more instability and more terrorism,” Paul said. “He was wrong about the war in Libya. It lead to more chaos and more terrorism.”
“He’s wrong about this.”
Though Graham has typically been a staunch Trump defender, he broke with the president on his controversial Syria decision.
“If I hear the president say one more time, ‘I made a campaign promise to get out of Syria,’ I’m going to throw up,” Graham said in an Oct. 8 interview with Axios. “The president is not ending the war. He’s creating a bigger war if he does not change course.”
The South Carolina Republican followed up those comments with a series of tweets on Monday about how the threat of radical Islamic terrorism may continue to fester should the U.S. leave the Middle East.
This is the exact thinking of the previous Administration — leave them alone and let others do our work. It led to the rise of ISIS!
Didn’t work then. Won’t work now.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 14, 2019
“Our southern border should be our LAST line of defense against radical Islam,” Graham tweeted. “Our FIRST line of defense is the U.S. military working with partners in radical Islam’s backyard keeping them over there so they can’t hurt us here at home or hurt our allies like Israel.
“This is the exact thinking of the previous Administration — leave them alone and let others do our work. It led to the rise of ISIS!”
Paul slammed his colleague for being “wrong about the Syrian war from the beginning” and supporting “Sunni extremists” against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
“Sometimes, maybe you have two evils and you really don’t have to pick sides,” Paul said Tuesday.
“I don’t see a national interest over there.”
While Graham condemned Trump’s initial move to pull troops from northern Syria, he voiced support for the president’s decision to impose sanctions on Turkey, which launched a military offensive in Syria following the U.S. withdrawal.
“I strongly support President Trump’s decision to initiate executive order sanctions against Turkish officials and economy for Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria,” Graham said in a Tuesday statement.
“President Trump made it clear to [Turkish] President Erdogan this incursion is widely unpopular in the United States, greatly destabilizing to the region, is putting in jeopardy our successes against ISIS, and will eventually benefit Iran.”
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