Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky praised President Donald Trump’s announcement of a ceasefire between Turkey and Syria on Wednesday, calling the president’s accomplishment an “extraordinary breakthrough.”
Appearing on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” Paul defended the president despite a rash of criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for his recent foreign policy decisions in the Middle East, including pulling a contingent of troops from northeast Syria — a move that prompted a Turkish incursion into the region.
The Kentucky Republican was responding to Trump’s Wednesday announcement that the previously temporary ceasefire between the neighboring nations would become permanent and that his administration’s sanctions on Turkey had been lifted.
Trump characterized the ceasefire as a “major breakthrough toward achieving a better future,” a sentiment that Paul echoed on “America’s Newsroom.”
“I think it’s an extraordinary breakthrough. The president is to be complimented — what a great statesmanlike speech,” Paul told host Bill Hemmer.
“It is amazing that by allowing this to occur, we actually have a realignment in Turkey, in Syria, that may actually lead to peace for the first time in eight years.”
The senator also criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolution opposing a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.
The resolution “condemns Turkey’s decision to escalate hostilities in Syria, warns against the abandonment of our allies and partners in Syria, and urges President Trump to rethink his invitation for President Erdogan to visit the White House,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday, according to NBC News.
“This is exactly why we must defeat the McConnell resolution,” Paul said. “The McConnell resolution says that we would disallow President Trump from meeting with Erdogan.”
“I think we need to see the world as it is. And, I think it’s important that the president meet with Erdogan.”
The comments on Syria are not the senator’s first.
On Oct. 15, he blasted Sen. Lindsey Graham for being “wrong about almost every foreign policy decision of the last two decades.”
The South Carolina Republican had criticized Trump for his initial decision to remove U.S. forces from northeast Syria.
Paul supported that move, lauding the president’s decision on Oct. 8, just days after the White House announcement.
“I just don’t think it has to be the U.S. obligation to try to figure each of the world’s problems out,” he said at the time.
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