Almost immediately, President Trump faced harsh criticism from lawmakers of both parties, including many staunch supporters of the president.
“The combination of a U.S. pullback and the escalating Turkish-Kurdish hostilities is creating a strategic nightmare for our country,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote in an opinion essay. He added that recent events had “set back the United States’ campaign against the Islamic State and other terrorists.”
“This is another example of Donald Trump creating chaos, undermining U.S. interests, and benefiting Russia and the Assad regime,” said Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat of Rhode Island.
In the House of Representatives, two-thirds of Republicans joined Democrats to pass a resolution condemning President Trump’s troop withdrawal by a vote of 354 to 60.
But many Trump supporters, including those at a Louisiana rally last month, cheered the president for keeping his word. “I’m glad he did it,” Katy Burgess of Lake Charles, Louisiana, told the Washington Post. “Get our troops out of harms way.”
While the pullout of American troops seems to be popular with Trump’s supporters, and it may boost his re-election prospects, the president’s critics fear that lasting damage has been done to America’s reputation abroad.
“It sends a message that America’s word is not very good,” says Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. “As the U.S. withdraws, other countries will know they’re on their own and try to take matters into their own hands. It just sows more chaos around the world.”