Schumer Remarks From Press Conference On President Trump’s Reckless Decision-Making In Syria Putting America In Danger

October 10, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today gave the following remarks at a press conference in New York City on President Trump’s reckless decision-making in Syria putting America’s national security in danger. Below are his remarks, which can also be found here.

I’m here today because President Trump’s actions are putting our national security at risk in more ways than one. Today, I want to talk about his reckless and erratic decision making in northern Syria. President Trump’s recent announcement that he will abandon the Kurds at the Syria-Turkey border is another example of how President Trump’s reckless foreign policy mirrors his reckless domestic policy. He even deserts his friends, both at home and abroad.

Let me be clear: I believe we can't stay in the Middle East indefinitely. But abandoning the Kurds—especially so precipitously, who have fought shoulder to shoulder with our troops against ISIS—is morally wrong and could put American lives in danger.

Abandoning the Kurds is the wrong thing to do. Now for years, President Trump has complained that Guantanamo shouldn't be closed because approximately 40 prisoners might be released which in his opinion would put American lives in danger. Well, by pulling U.S. troops out of Northern Syria and letting Turkey attack the Kurds, reports say as many as ten thousand ISIS fighters currently being held by the Kurds could be released.

Put simply, President Trump is aiding and abetting an ISIS jailbreak. The hypocrisy of president is stunning and it is putting America in danger. When it comes to defeating ISIS in Syria, President Trump has no coherent strategy. His decision making is erratic. It’s impulsive. He makes enormously important decisions on a whim. He seems to disregard advice of our generals and our intelligence and instead heeds the advice of a despot like Erdogan.

To make such a decision on the basis of a phone call with a dictator named Erdogan is just an awful way to do policy and no American of any party or ideology should be proud or countenance that kind of decision making.

The president threatened to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if they did something off limits. That threat has apparently had no effect and the president has forgotten it just as quickly as he issued it.

Just this morning, Bloomberg reported that Turkey won’t take custody of all ISIS prisoners, contradicting President Trump’s claim that they would.

It should not have come to this, but Republicans in Congress, by repeatedly demonstrating that they are unwilling to hold President Trump accountable when he does something wrong, have established a permission structure for President Trump’s reckless actions in Syria.

Republicans in Congress need to put their country over Trump.

The president likes to say he puts “America First.” In this case, President Trump has put Putin and Erdogan first and America and its security interests second.