U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement Sunday night that the United States would allow Turkey to conduct a military offensive against its Kurdish allies in northeastern Syria prompted an immediate and overwhelming backlash. Even Trump’s “favorite” television show “Fox & Friends” descended in fierce debate as a visibly upset Brian Kilmeade blasted the decision to abandon the Kurds.
Trump’s statement was followed by a bizarre and empathic Twitter defense Monday of the decision, which stirred up even further criticism as he attacked European allies and clearly stated that America would no longer play a role in Syria — including fighting ISIS unless ISIS threatened the United States.
Reactions from across the political spectrum showed shock and dismay at the Trump administration’s surprise decision. Richard Engel, NBC News’ chief foreigh correspondent (who had previously been kidnapped in Syria), wrote: “Kurdish sequence of events very ugly, stinks of betrayal. Kurds working with Americans, based on an agreement, had recently pulled their defenses away from Turkish border, only to wake up this am to hear Trump gave Turkey greenlight to invade.”