President Donald Trump is learning why being the U.S. president isn’t all rallies and fun state dinners; it’s about difficult decisions.
New York Times reporters Maggie Habermann and Eric Schmitt wrote Sunday that Trump is considering leaving some troops on the ground in Syria, even though he wants to pull out and bring all troops home.
One plan proposed by the Pentagon says that a few hundred special forces would be left on the ground in Syria, while the rest would be shipped to Iraq. Trump also just sent troops to Saudi Arabia, despite a campaign promise to bring troops home.
“If Mr. Trump approves the proposal to leave a couple of hundred Special Operations forces in eastern Syria, it would mark the second time in 10 months that he has reversed his order to pull out nearly all American troops from the country,” wrote The Times. “Last December, Mr. Trump directed 2,000 American troops to leave Syria immediately, only to relent later and approve a more gradual withdrawal.”
The reporters also noted that it would be one of the most significant political reversals over the last few days after his own party pressured him. The other being the withdrawal of Trump’s resort being used for the G-7 summit next year.
Trump decided abruptly last Sunday to withdraw all troops from Syria so that Turkey could bomb the Kurds, who they’ve always opposed. Turkey then bombed the area until Vice President Mike Pence rushed to Turkey to negotiate a 120-hour pause to the shelling.
For the past week, Trump has been under attack by not only Democrats but Republicans for bungling the situation in Syria, where the Kurdish forces were driving out ISIS.
A “senior administration official said it was highly likely that troops would be kept along the Iraqi border area — away from the cease-fire zone that Vice President Mike Pence negotiated with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey last week,” wrote The Times. “The main goal would be to prevent the Islamic State from re-establishing all or parts of its religious state, or caliphate, in Syria and neighboring Iraq.
The official also said that the president is “balancing competing impulses: achieving the ultimate goal of bringing United States forces home from Syria — part of a signature campaign promise to pull American troops from ‘endless wars’ — and ensuring that efforts to contain and diminish ISIS continue.”