GOP senator defends Trump on Syria: ‘I’m not sure the president had a lot of choices’

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) on Sunday defended President Donald Trump’s decision to allow the Turkish invasion of northern Syria that has resulted in the slaughter of Kurdish fighters — casting the Middle Eastern military conflict as an inevitable quagmire between two U.S. allies for which there is no clear American response.

“I wish it had been different, I can tell you that, but I’m not sure the president had a lot of choices,” Cramer told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I know we like to oversimplify these complicated relationships, but I think the logical question is: Were we prepared to stay there and fight the Turks, given the fact that the Turks seem to be committed to coming across the border and establishing this militarized zone with or without our staying there?” he continued.

But Cramer argued Sunday that Trump had “not so much a binary choice as a decision to make as to, you know, which friend, if you will, do we stand with in this circumstance?”

While Cramer said “the Turks are not the type of ally that the Kurds are,” he emphasized that Turkey is a member of the NATO military alliance and asserted: “It’s never quite as simple as just a binary choice.”

Cramer’s remarks came after Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced earlier Sunday that Trump had “directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of U.S. Forces from the northern part of Syria,” evacuating the last American troops remaining there.

“We are talking less than a thousand” service members, Esper told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” adding: “We want to make sure that we do so in a very safe, deliberate manner, [and] that we deconflict things as we go with those folks on the ground in the immediate area.”



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