US Evangelicals Endorse Trump but Not Withdrawal from Syria
By Staff, Agencies
US evangelicals endorse President Donald Trump but not his decision to pull out American troops from northern Syria.
“We thought the troop withdrawal and failure to protect and ensure northeast Syria’s burgeoning self-governance was a religious freedom mistake,” said Travis Weber, the vice president for policy and government affairs at the Family Research Council, an evangelical advocacy group. “We thought it was a departure of President Trump's fantastic record on religious freedom.”
The Christian Zionists are instead supporting US sanctions imposed on Turkey as well as the temporary ceasefire.
“My support is behind the president,” the Rev. Franklin Graham, the president of the evangelical humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, told The Hill.
Trump has been accused of allowing Turkey to attack Kurdish forces near the Syria-Turkey border.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would introduce his own resolution aimed at ending the withdrawal.
“I am introducing a stronger resolution that acknowledges hard truths and focuses on our strategic interests in the Middle East,” McConnell said. “It recognizes the grave consequences of US withdrawal. ... We specifically urge the president to end the drawdown.”
The Republican further warned against Turkey’s establishment of a safe zone there on the pretext of settling Syrian refugees.
“We cannot allow them to establish safe havens and solidify their networks,” McConnell said. “Just about every place that President Trump tried to lead from behind provides reminders that there are certain kinds of leadership only America can contribute.”
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, repeated calls for McConnell to take up the House resolution, which passed with significant support from House Republicans.
“I wish our colleagues would show the same courage,” Schumer said. “If the House resolution is tough enough for House Republican leadership, surely it’s good enough for the majority of Senate Republicans.”
Meanwhile, Trump has allegedly authorized $4.5 million in aid for the so-called White Helmets group, according to White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.
The measure was meant "to continue United States support for the organization's important and highly valued work in the country," Grisham said in a statement.
Syria has been gripped by a foreign-backed militancy since 2011.