Trump defends decision to pull U.S. forces as Turkey continues military offensive against Kurds in northern Syria thumbnail

Trump defends decision to pull U.S. forces as Turkey continues military offensive against Kurds in northern Syria

President Trump addresses conservative activists at the Values Voter Summit Saturday in Washington. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters) Colby ItkowitzCongress, campaigns, health policy, Pennsylvania politics October 12 at 10:02 PM President Trump on Saturday defended his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria before a crowd of evangelicals, as many in the religious community have condemned the president’s move that left Kurdish Christians open to Turkey’s military offensive. Trump acknowledged that his choice was unpopular, describing himself as being on an “island of one,” but argued that it was time to bring U.S. soldiers home from an “endless war.” “I don’t think our soldiers should be there for the next 50 years guarding a border between Turkey and Syria when we can’t guard our own borders at home,” Trump said, garnering muted applause from the audience. “I don’t think so.” The president spoke as Turkey’s military made gains in its offensive against Kurdish fighters, a close U.S. partner in combating the Islamic State. Turkey launched its operation into Syria days after Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone and the White House announced that the United States would not stand in Turkey’s way. [U.S. forces say Turkey was deliberately ‘bracketing’ American troops with artillery fire in Syria] Trump saved his remarks about Syria until the end of his 80-minute speech to the Values Voter Summit in Washington, where he delivered a stripped-down version of his campaign-rally speech with its familiar targets and complaints. Trump railed against the “radical left,” repeated his claim that he thinks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “hates this country” and called Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) “crooked as hell.” He mocked Schiff’s appearance, calling him “pencil neck,” and told a woman in the audience that she “would not be impressed with him physically.” He also criticized Somali-born refugee Rep. Ilhan Om
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