WASHINGTON, DC - President Trump is defending his troop pull-out decision from Syria. That move essentially opened the door for Turkish forces to begin their deadly invasion against the Kurds along Syria's northeast border.
President Trump said today, "Our soldiers are not in harm's way – as they shouldn't be – as two countries fight over land that has nothing to do with us. And the Kurds are much safer right now, but the Kurds know how to fight and as I said, they're not angels, they're not angels."
His comments come as Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo head out to the region to try to negotiate a cease-fire with Turkey's authoritarian leader, President Erdogan.
But there has been some back-and-forth today on whether Erdogan will actually take a meeting with the Trump administration team.
Meanwhile here in Washington, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are weighing the next steps when it comes to the situation in Syria.
Many, from both sides of aisles, disagree with the president and want to see more actions against Turkey as a result of the attacks. The House of Representatives has even passed a resolution condemning Trump's troop withdrawal.
Since the president's surprise announcement to remove those troops serving in Syria, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been a vocal opponent on the issue, challenging President Trump to find a solution to the new problem that's unfolding in Syria right now.
Sen. Graham said, "I'm going to introduce sanctions tomorrow with Democrats that are going to be sanctions from Hell. They're going to be like Iranian sanctions against Turkey, I'm going to break this thug's back, we're going to stand by the military, and to President Trump, if you're listening to this interview, if you remove all of our forces from Syria, you're throwing the Kurds over, ISIS will come back on your watch, and Iran will take over and you my friend, will be in great jeopardy of losing the election. We can't afford you to lose."
Graham continued, "The President's put sanctions on but I'm going to go further. My sanctions would sanction Erdogan and his family and find out how much money he's stolen from the Turkish people. My sanctions would go after their energy sector where they get most of their money. It would take the two top Turkish banks in the world and say you can't do business with those banks as long as Erdogan's in Syria."
"They're a NATO ally, I'd like to have a good relationship, but we're not going to let Erdogan slaughter the allies that helped us defeat ISIS, the Kurds. We're not going to give Iran part of Syria to make a nightmare for Israel, and at the end of the day my friend, this is a defining moment for President Trump," Graham said.