Lindsey Graham has 2-hour lunch with Trump, says POTUS made him see Syria pullout differently

Senator Lindsey Graham now feels “pretty good” about President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria after the two discussed the controversial decision over lunch.

The South Carolina Republican appeared to reverse his former criticism of the pullout, explaining to reporters and in a series of tweets on Sunday that his meeting with the president was “reassuring.”

Speaking to reporters after a “great” two-hour lunch with Trump at the White House on Sunday, Graham said the president told him “some things I didn’t know that make me feel a lot better about where we’re headed in Syria.”

“He promised to destroy ISIS. He’s going to keep that promise,” he continued. “We’re not there yet. But as I said today, we’re inside the 10-yard line and the president understands the need to finish the job.”

Graham also offered some words about the Kurds who “stepped up when nobody else would” to fight ISIS.

“The last thing in the world we want is a war for Turkey and the Kurds,” he told reporters. “That takes pressure off ISIS. The last thing we want in addition to that is Iran to be the big winner here. So I think the president’s going to finish the job when it comes to ISIS. I share his goal to withdraw our forces from Syria. I just want to do it in a smart way to make sure that Iran’s not the big winner.”

Graham appeared to be backing off from his previous calls for Trump to reconsider his planned pullout of troops. His two-hour lunch with the president followed his earlier appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” where he indicated that he planned to ask Trump to “reconsider.”

“I’m going to ask the president to do something that President Obama would never do. Reconsider,” Graham said, noting that Trump was “reconsidering how we do this” after meeting with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.

“If we leave now, the Kurds are going to get slaughtered,” Graham told CNN host Dana Bash.

“He’s frustrated. I get it. People should pay more. They should fight more,” Graham said. “But we’re not the policemen of the world here. We’re fighting a war against ISIS. They’re still not defeated in Syria. I’m asking the president to make sure that we have troops there to protect us. Don’t outsource our national security to some foreign power. If we leave now, the Kurds are going to get into a fight with Turkey, they could get slaughtered.”

The Republican lawmaker also slammed former President Barack Obama’s reasons for pulling troops out of Iraq in 2011 as a “bunch of bullsh–, pardon my French.”

He told reporters outside the White House that the president’s Christmas-time visit with the troops last week in Iraq was “eye-opening.”

“The commanders there told him that ISIS was in a world of hurt,” Graham said. “Not completely destroyed but well on their way. I think operations to completely destroy and decimate ISIS are going to be ongoing and are going to be accelerated.”

HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE MISSING …

He later took to Twitter to say he “learned a lot” from his meeting with Trump.

He indicated that three objectives that Trump had outlined made him feel better about the pullout which he initially had panned.

“President @realDonaldTrump is talking with our commanders and working with our allies to make sure these three objectives are met as we implement the withdrawal,” Graham concluded.

Frieda Powers

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