Pretty much everyone disagrees with the White House's assessment that ISIS is "defeated."
On Wednesday, reports surfaced that President Trump would immediately withdraw troops from Syria. Trump seemingly confirmed the sentiment with a tweet, and the White House issued a statement declaring "victories over ISIS" shortly after. And just seconds later, criticism started pouring in.
Following Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) rebuke of this decision, fellow GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.) affirmed the Senate wasn't consulted before Trump's Wednesday declaration. Also agreeing with Graham, Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade tweeted that withdrawing from Syria "is a huge mistake" because "we are leaving allies who have been fighting for us ... ripe for slaughter." And Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) had a more blunt response.
Similarly, Mouaz Moustafa, director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force humanitarian group, emphasized that "we have NOT completely defeated ISIS and pulling out now allows them to make a resurgence." Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, a Council on Foreign Relations fellow who was in Syria last week, tweeted that "if the ISIS fight is over, no one has told ISIS." She then shared a moving photo showing how things in Syria have changed under U.S. intervention. Kathryn Krawczyk
Little ones in #Raqqa, #Syria back in school and enjoying benefits of fragile stability holding in their city backed by local US-backed forces who are, in turn, backed by US forces. These little ones witnessed beheadings, hangings under IS. And now share joy of learning. pic.twitter.com/50BxjCAk7m
President Trump blames America for souring relations between the U.S. and Russia. As it turns out, so does Russia.
In an early-morning tweet before his Monday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said that the U.S.-Russia relationship has "NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness" and the more recent "Witch Hunt," a reference to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Russia's Foreign Affairs Ministry had a simple response to Trump's finger-pointing:
The meeting comes just days after the U.S. Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents allegedly connected to email hacking in the 2016 election. The White House's response to the charges avoided condemning Russia, and Trump hasn't said whether he'll bring the charges up in his meeting with Putin. Some top Democrats urged him to cancel the summit altogether. Kathryn Krawczyk