After receiving widespread criticism from the political establishment over a partial troop withdrawal from Syria, President Trump addressed the painful reality of America’s interventionist foreign policy in a heartfelt speech on Wednesday.
“The hardest thing I have to do, by far — much harder than the witch hunt — is signing letters to parents of soldiers that have been killed,” Trump said. “There’s not a lot of upsides, if there’s any upside at all, and in many cases there’re only downsides.”
“The hardest thing I have to do is signing those letters. That’s the hardest thing I have to do. Each letter is different. We make each letter different, and last week I signed five of them for Afghanistan, one in Iraq, one in Syria from two weeks ago, and sometimes I call the parents, sometimes I see the parents,” he said.
Trump talked about “blue-on-green attacks” in which foreign soldiers who are trained by U.S. military personnel turn the gun on the individuals who trained them. Trump says these types of attacks are particularly prevalent in Afghanistan, a war that Trump is intent upon bringing to an end.
He displayed an empathy toward the lives of soldiers that his predecessors never had.
“I see people that were smiling, saying, ‘Oh Mr. President, thank you for being here.’ […] I’ve seen people that I thought were really incredible the way they were — I didn’t even understand how they could take it so well — scream like I’ve never seen anything before. Sometimes, they’ll run to the coffin. They’ll break through military barriers. They’ll run to the coffin and jump on top of the coffin. Crying mothers and wives, crying desperately,” Trump said.
What he has experienced as commander-in-chief has made Trump realize the necessity of bringing the troops home, and reversing the failed foreign policy that has exacerbated the many problems of the Middle East.
“And this is on these endless wars that just never stopped and there’s a time and there’s a place, but it’s time to stop,” Trump added.
His entire speech can be seen here:
The hardest thing I have to do as President… pic.twitter.com/6bzwh78I00
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2019
Trump has enraged the Republican Party establishment with his decision to remove troops from Syria and hand over captured ISIS militants to Turkish dictator Recep Erdoğan.
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria is having sickening and predictable consequences,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), whose father was the architect of the disastrous Iraq War.
“The Kurds have been a great partner. … Turkey under Erdoğan has not been. I’m concerned about what can happen next,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said. “A lot can happen in a hurry and we’ll just have to see what happens when we get back. I wish the president would reconsider.”
“It’s a terrible mistake. We’ll have to think of what options there are. I’m sure the Senate will, potentially, take some vote to disagree with that decision,” Sen. “Little” Marco Rubio (R-FL) said.
However, Trump has made it clear that his goal is to put America first. If doing the right thing means angering Republican career politicians in Washington D.C., so be it.
“I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than to risk peace in pursuit of politics,” Trump iconically said last year.
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