The US Senate voted on a final bipartisan bill opposing President Donald Trump’s planned withdrawal from Syria. The measure is part of a broader Mideast policy bill that’s expected to pass next week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took the lead on the amendment, saying, “ISIS and al Qaeda have yet to be defeated.”
The Kentucky lawmaker’s statement was a direct hit against the president’s claim that the US has “won against ISIS.”
Senators ended up voting overwhelmingly against the president’s assessment, siding with testimony presented at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing this week. “ISIS is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the panel.
At first, President Trump hit back at America’s top spies, insisting they’re wrong. “I disagree with certain things they said. I think I’m right,” he said.
Later, however, after a closed-door meeting with intelligence heads, the president said his intel team was “mischaracterized.”
“They said they were totally misquoted and they were totally. It was taken out of context,” he said.
On Friday morning, the president doubled down on his position, tweeting, “It is now time to start coming home and, after many years, spending our money wisely. Certain people must get smart!”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told CBN News earlier this week that the US will maintain a presence in the region until ISIS is “completely destroyed.”
“The idea that the president is just stepping away and ignoring any potential problem, doesn’t understand the fundamental decision that he’s made,” she said. “He wants to bring our troops home out of Syria, but we’re not leaving the region.”
And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday the White House will continue to put pressure on ISIS, adding that “the president will make a significant announcement I think in the State of the Union next week with respect to the status of the caliphate.”
That, however, doesn’t seem to be enough for Republican lawmakers.
“It is a mistake to proceed with withdrawal from Syria in the pace and scale that is currently proposed or that the White House has announced that they’re going to undertake,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said.
Rubio then warned the troop withdrawal will come back to haunt the US.
“We can ignore ISIS and we can ignore al Qaeda and we can ignore Iran, but they will not ignore us,” the Florida lawmaker said. “If we allow al Qaeda and ISIS, or both, to have a resurgence, they will attack the United States of America.”