Meghan McCain added her voice to the growing chorus of conservatives condemning the Trump administration’s decision to step aside as Turkey gears up to invade Syria ― a potential death sentence for the Kurdish fighters who have been an American ally in the battle against ISIS.
“Right now we’re just saying we’re just going to leave [the Kurds] and abandon them,” the co-host of ABC’s “The View” said Monday. McCain blasted as “feckless, unpatriotic cowards” fellow Republicans and current White House officials who were “mad that President [Barack] Obama pulled out of Iraq” but have been mum about the administration’s Sunday night announcement.
McCain’s comments, which she admitted diverged from the show’s talking points and were “a little bit rogue” on her part, were met with applause from the studio audience.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued the Sunday night statement after President Donald Trump talked by telephone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The statement said that Turkey will soon move into northern Syria and that U.S. troops will neither support nor be involved in the operation. Furthermore, they “will no longer be in the immediate area.”
“I cannot believe this is where we’re at diplomatic-wise,” a clearly indignant McCain said. “What message is this sending to our allies and to our American troops who have fought and died” as part of the effort in Syria to defeat the Islamic State.
She also wondered if the move was spurred by a “wag the dog” impulse to distract attention from the impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Although some GOP leaders have been silent on the administration’s new policy, some of Trump’s staunchest backers, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), are publicly urging Trump to reconsider.
In a series of tweets Monday morning, Graham called the decision “a stain on America’s honor,” warning that it has “sent the most dangerous signal possible ― America is an unreliable ally and it’s just a matter of time before China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea act out in dangerous ways.”
The Kurds ― who have partnered with the Syrian Democratic Forces, becoming a dependable defense against the Islamic State in northern Syria ― are considered a terrorist group by Turkey. With the U.S. presence gone from the region, the Kurds will be left vulnerable to attack.
In his initial reaction to the harsh criticism of the new policy announcement, Trump on Monday issued a threat to Turkey on Twitter, vowing that if the nation “does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.”