Trump defends Syria decision

President Trump on Wednesday criticized the Kurds, saying they didn't help the United States during World War II and that they were only fighting for their land in Syria during the battle against ISIS.


“The Kurds are fighting for their land,” Trump told reporters at the White House during an event in the Roosevelt Room.

“And as somebody wrote in a very, very powerful article today, they didn’t help us in the second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy as an example. They mentioned names of different battles. But they’re there to help us with their land and that’s a different thing.”

Trump did not specify to which article he was referring, but some on Twitter pointed to an article written in TownHall by conservative Kurt Schlichter that included a reference to the Kurds and Normandy.

The remarks from Trump at the White House came as Turkey launched an offensive in northern Syria against Kurdish forces that had been allied with the United States in the fight on terror.

Trump paved the way for the Turkish offensive when he announced earlier this week, to a GOP furor, that he was withdrawing U.S. forces from that part of Syria. Some of Trump's staunchest Republican allies have ripped the move, calling it a betrayal of a loyal U.S. ally in the Kurds.

Trump insisted the U.S. has spent “tremendous amounts of money” helping the Kurds purchase ammunition and weapons.

“With all of that being said, we liked the Kurds,” Trump told reporters.

“When you say they’re fighting for us, yes, but they’re fighting for their land,” Trump added.

The White House announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces abruptly late Sunday after Trump spoke with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The U.S. military partnered with the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the Kurds, in operations against ISIS. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurds to be a terrorist group.

Syrian Democratic Forces have denounced Trump's decision as a “stab in the back.”

The Trump administration has sought to contain the scrutiny over the past days, insisting the president did not give a “greenlight” to Turkey to conduct the operation and that he made clear to Erdoğan that there would be consequences for Turkey if Kurdish forces were harmed.

“I will wipe out his economy if that happens,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “I hope that he will act rationally.”

Trump also insisted his decision had “tremendous support” outside Washington and noted he campaigned on withdrawing the U.S. from “endless wars.”

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