impulse decision
December 21, 2018

President Trump decided to withdraw troops from Syria "hastily" during a phone call last week with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, doing so without warning his advisers and in spite of "strong objections from virtually everyone involved," The Associated Press reports.

Erdogan during the call had reportedly pressed Trump about why the U.S. is still in Syria, and Trump, ignoring the talking points his advisers had prepared for him, "quickly capitulated" and said right there on the spot he would withdraw, leaving both Erdogan and National Security Adviser John Bolton stunned.

This phone call took place on Dec. 14, and in the days that followed, Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Secretary of State Mike Pomepo all desperately tried to convince the president to change his mind or at least delay the withdrawal, AP reports. But it wasn't much use, although the administration did, at the Pentagon's request, scrap plans to announce the withdrawal on Tuesday; that's reportedly the reason Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had originally called a press conference on that day.

In the end, the withdrawal was reported on Wednesday, and Mattis announced a day later that he was leaving leave the administration, saying in his resignation letter that his views are not "aligned" with Trump's. Brendan Morrow

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