U.S. lawmakers from both parties slammed Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan in Germany last week over President Trump’s plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria by the end of April, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. In a private meeting during the Munich Security Conference, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reportedly asked Shanahan if he was telling European allies that the U.S. planned to pull all troops by April 30. When Shanahan said that that’s what Trump had advised him to do, Graham reportedly responded “That’s the dumbest fucking idea I’ve ever heard.” When the former Boeing executive acknowledged that many of Graham’s concerns—that ISIS could return, that Turkey could attack the Kurds—were possible, Graham reportedly told him that “Well, if the policy is going to be that we are leaving by April 30, I am now your adversary, not your friend.”
The Post reports that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle soon joined in on the criticism, and that Shanahan reacted like a “deer in the headlights” and could not provide meaningful answers. “If this was an audition for the job full time, he failed,” a Democratic congressman said.