Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on the Consequences of Donald Trump’s Decision to Remove Troops from Syria

Donald Trump sold out the Syrian Democratic Forces — the courageous Kurds and Arabs who fought with us to smash ISIS’s caliphate — and he betrayed a key local ally in the fight against terrorism. But that’s not all — he betrayed our brave troops, who sacrificed alongside them. He betrayed our word as a nation — raising doubts among our allies around the world about America’s security commitments. And he betrayed our security by green lighting a Turkish incursion that will create chaos and destruction, setting conditions for ISIS to regrow.

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His sad attempt to excuse the betrayal — saying that the Kurds didn’t fight with us at Normandy 75 years ago in World War II — adds insult to very real injury. By that standard, only Canada, a handful of European allies, and others could ever hope for America to come to their defense — and even they might have doubts after Trump’s performance. Especially when Trump said he wasn’t worried about ISIS regrouping and fleeing Syria because they would only go to Europe.

Trump made this decision on a whim, after a phone call with Turkish President Erdogan — a fellow strongman who has issued his own threat to send millions of Syrian refugees into Europe if they dared to criticize his attack. There was no process. No consultation with our military, our diplomats, or our allies. Trump got rolled, plain and simple, because he has no idea what he’s doing.

This is not about keeping forces in northern Syria indefinitely. That was never the plan. It’s about consolidating our hard-fought gains against ISIS, and preventing it from regenerating — which it is already trying to do. Managing this complex environment requires smart and sustained diplomacy, which President Trump has demonstrated he has neither the patience nor the wisdom to conduct. Every day, President Trump’s incompetent policies make us less safe.

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