Senate Criticizes Trump Over Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan, Syria

The Senate voted “overwhelmingly” Thursday to advance an amendment rebuking President Trump’s controversial decision to quickly withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria, The New York Times reports. The bipartisan vote limits debate on the amendment, all but guaranteeing it will be wrapped into a bipartisan Middle East policy bill that will likely pass next week. The amendment was written by majority leader Mitch McConnell, and backed by almost every single Senate Republican. McConnell is normally a staunch ally of the president—but he warned in the amendment that “the precipitous withdrawal of United States forces from either country could put at risk hard-won gains and United States national security.” And while he never called out Trump directly, he wrote that “it is incumbent upon the United States to lead, to continue to maintain a global coalition against terror and to stand by our local partners.”

The vote wasn’t unanimous, however; surprisingly, some Democrats sided with Trump. “We’ve been in Afghanistan for a longer period than any war in American history; Syria, we’ve been there for too long and we’ve got to get out,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told reporters Thursday. “What McConnell is saying is, ‘Let’s maintain the status quo.’”