Speed Reads

Playing with hellfire

Evangelical Christian leaders are 'absolutely appalled' Trump would 'betray' Syria's Kurds

President Trump may believe his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria to let Turkey invade the area, currently held by America's Kurdish allies, is wise, but few of his regular allies agree with him. Top Republicans in Congress publicly criticized Trump for betraying the de facto U.S. ground forces that routed the Islamic State, and even stalwart supporters like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee rebuked Trump for abandoning the Kurds. Huckabee wasn't the only prominent evangelical Christian to slam Trump's move.

Pat Robertson, the 89-year-old host of 700 Club and an evangelical ally of Trump's, had maybe the most biting response. "I am absolutely appalled that the United States is going to betray those democratic in northern Syria, that we possibly are gonna allow the Turkish to come in against the Kurds," he said Monday.

Robertson called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "a thug" and criticized Saudi Arabia's leaders as well, but his focus was Trump. "The president who allowed [Jamal] Khashoggi to be cut in pieces without any repercussions whatsoever is now allowing the Christians and the Kurds to be massacred by the Turks," he said. "And I believe — and I want to say this with great solemnity — the president of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen"

Tony Perkins, the head of the prominent evangelical group Family Research Council, also chimed in.

As did David Brody, chief political analyst at the Trump-friendly Christian Broadcasting Network News.

White evangelicals are Trump's most enduring base of support. It is probably an inopportune time for Trump to alienate them.