October 22, 2019

Video: Kaine Condemns Trump Administration For Flawed Strategy And Lack Of Communication On Syria

WATCH HERE: https://timkaine.box.com/s/nczfviqrc1e9ia1p4i88ezkfcmlfmael

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) hearing, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine condemned the Trump Administration for abandoning the Kurds who have fought alongside American troops, empowering our adversaries, and raising the risk that there will be a resurgence of ISIS. In his questioning, Kaine criticized the Trump Administration for failing to consult experts or come before Congress to propose a strategy for the U.S. mission in Syria before betraying our Kurdish allies.

Below are excerpts from Kaine’s questioning:

“The question that is raised by all of these consequences from the Trump retreat is, ‘What would anybody think about partnering with us if there’s a tough battle ahead against a non-state terrorist force or someone else and we go and ask?’ If ISIS resurges and we go back and ask the Kurds to help us again, I think I know what the answer is going to be.  

Ambassador Jeffrey, you’ve been blunt and I appreciate it. I was astounded as well, but I appreciate your candor in your response to Senator Menendez’s question about whether you –  who have been specifically tasked by this Administration with the responsibility of helping manage this admittedly very difficult situation and certainly manage the global coalition against ISIS – you were not consulted with, if you were not consulted with about this withdrawal, that just speaks volumes about its chaotic and ad hoc nature. One of the achievements that you – I think get some credit for in the last few months – is that you convinced Britain and France in July to increase their presence in the region to try to help us deal with the ISIS threat. My understanding is that it wasn’t just you who were not consulted with by the Administration before this, but Britain and France who just three months ago had agreed to some increase in their troop levels in the region to try to protect against ISIS and work hand-in-hand with the Kurds. My understanding is they were not consulted with either. Do you have any reason to doubt what I’m saying to you?” Kaine asked in his opening.

“If the Administration had come to us with this as the plan four months ago, ‘Here’s what we think the solution is:  We want to empower Russia, Turkey, Assad, Iran. We want to run the risk of ISIS reconstituting. We want to walk away from the Kurds. We want to make other allies wonder about whether we will be loyal to them. We want to send a mixed message about whether oil is more important than people.’ If they had come to this Committee and said, ‘This is what we want to do, what do you think?’ the entire Committee would have laughed them out of the room. 

“That's where we arrived at by an ad hoc decision without consulting with a committee. I mind not being consulted with. Whether you mind it or not, whether you are so used to it that it seems like it happens, I mind not being consulted with, I mind not having an Administration come and propose some plan for Syria and let us ask questions and maybe make suggestions. But we're finding out by tweet as well and that really, really bothers me,” Kaine concluded.

Kaine has been outspoken against President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria, which has left American allies at risk of being slaughtered and spurred massive instability in the region.

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