Lindsey Graham applauds Trump, softens on withdrawal criticism after ‘game-changing’ sanctions

Sen. Lindsey Graham … Credit: Google images, Gage Skidmore

Sen. Lindsey Graham is coming around to President Trump’s way of thinking on Syria and his pledge to implement hard-hitting sanctions on Turkey for their aggression against the Kurds.

“Just spoke with President @realdonaldTrump,” Graham tweeted on Sunday. “I applaud his decision to work with Congress to stop Turkey’s aggression in Syria through crippling economic sanctions. This decision by President Trump will be a game-changer — in all the wrong ways — for Turkey.”

“It is imperative that we stop the bloodshed and stabilize northeastern Syria to prevent the reemergence of ISIS and the rise of Iran,” he added.

Graham initially criticized the move by the president to pull U.S. troops out of harm’s way in the face of the looming invasion of northern Syria by Turkish forces.

But it’s interesting to note that pundit Ann Coulter seems to have had a better read on the situation in Syria than some of the D.C. luminaries who bashed Trump for abandoning the Kurds.

She tweeted last week: “If you’re not a paid shill, making money off of U.S. troops being in Syria, here’s the upside of Trump’s withdrawal: Kurds will join with Syria; Russia will watch over them. Iran will be pushed out of Syria and Lebanon. Syrian refugees in Turkey can return.”

Low and behold, Trump may just be on to something here. Forget the endless wars overseas costing young American lives. Use our economic might when necessary, but let the parties who actually have conflicting vested interests and deep-seated animosities against each other work things out amongst themselves.

On Friday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced the president will be authorizing his department to execute “significant new sanctions” targeting the government of Turkey, as well as selected individuals.

“President Trump … has authorized and will be signing a new executive order giving the Treasury Department in consultation with himself and Secretary Pompeo very significant new sanctions authorities that can be targeted at any person associated with the government of Turkey, any portion of the government,” Mnuchin said. “This will be both primary sanctions and secondary sanctions that will be applicable.”

“The president is concerned about the ongoing military offensive and potential targeting of civilians, civilian infrastructure, ethnic or religious minorities, and also the president wants to make very clear it is imperative that Turkey not allow even a single ISIS fighter to escape,” continued Mnuchin. “Again, I want to emphasize at this point, we are not activating the sanctions, but as the president has said, he will provide very significant authorities based upon the continuing efforts.”

By Sunday, Graham was getting back in step with Trump, tweeting:

As for getting U.S. troops out of northern Syria where Turkey is expanding their attacks beyond their original stated plan, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told “Face the Nation” on Sunday: “We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies and it’s a very untenable situation. So I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria.”

Guaranteed, there will be no families of American troops protesting the removal of their loved ones from a volatile war zone.


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