Trump’s withdrawal of troops in Syria wrong

Published in the TCPalm on Monday, October 21, 2019

It’s beyond appalling that President Donald Trump has imperiled the lives of thousands through his reckless actions in Syria, Ukraine and right here in the United States.

Turkish forces launched an assault Oct. 8 against Kurds in northern Syria just days after Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces that had acted as a buffer.

Trump singlehandedly bowed to the wishes of Turkey’s brutish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who supports Erdogan’s vile intentions. Turkish forces will be free to carry out ethnic cleansing in a region of two million Kurds.

By his actions, Trump betrayed Kurdish soldiers who fought furiously and died by the thousands to help the United States and allies defeat the ISIS Caliphate. Kurds, you’re on your own.

In Ukraine, Trump denied desperately needed arms, including anti-tank missiles, to Ukrainian soldiers fighting a “hot war” against Russian-backed forces. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy would receive the aid only if he re-opened an investigation into debunked allegations against rival Democrat Joe Biden and his son. Overwhelming evidence establishes the president’s craven violation of laws prohibiting foreign influence in our elections. Republican legislators blinded by loyalty concoct twisted denials. Their oath of office means nothing.

In the United States, a country marred by mass shootings and deaths by firearms, Trump ended any hope of gun reform when Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry. Moreover, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre told the president to “stop the games” and kill gun reform legislation. In return, according to The New York Times, LaPierre offered Trump a substantial contribution for his impeachment defense and re-election.

Trump’s mind-bending decisions reveal both his self-serving approach to governing and his admiration for autocratic, thuggish leaders abroad. Our president has no moral compass.

–Richard Leonard, Vero Beach