There are very few things that Senate Republicans and Democrats currently agree on. Both sides, though, have demonstrated a distaste for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
President Trump has a much a cordial relationship with the Turkish leader and hosted him at the White House on Wednesday. While the President hosted Erdoğan, a number of Republican lawmakers took the opportunity to pressure him.
The visit was called a bad idea long before the Turkish leader made it to Washington DC. In Mid-October, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R), tweeted, “Erdogan’s attack on our Kurdish partners has served to liberate ISIS prisoners, bolster the Assad regime, and strengthen Russia. His invitation to the White House should be revoked.”
Erdogan’s attack on our Kurdish partners has served to liberate ISIS prisoners, bolster the Assad regime, and strengthen Russia.
His invitation to the White House should be revoked.https://t.co/ied6E5xXY1
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) October 16, 2019
Republican senators Lindsey Graham (SC), Jim Risch (ID), Ted Cruz (TX), Joni Ernst (IA) and Rick Scott (FL) met with Erdoğan.
Graham told reporters, “The purpose of this meeting is to have an American civics lesson with our Turkish friends. And there’s a pony in there somewhere if we can find it.”
The group also discussed their fears about Turkish forces taking action against the Kurds. According to Cruz, “We do not want to see Turkey engage in offensive action against the Kurds.”
The GOP senators were also concerned about Turkey’s use of Russian S400 missiles in the Syrian conflict. “The strategy here is that Erdogan has chosen the S400 as the system of choice from Russia and we would be there to encourage President Erdogan not to follow that route,” said Joni Ernst. “I’m hopeful that the president can push back on the S400.”