Bipartisan criticism against President Donald Trump was evident this week, as he ordered U.S. troops to leave Syria, effectively allowing a military incursion by Turkey into the area largely held by Kurdish allies.
The military operations have already resulted in casualties, Al Jazeera reported.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was among the lawmakers from Trump’s own party to speak out against the decision by the commander-in-chief. “We degraded ISIS using Kurds as the ground force. Now we have abandoned them & they face annihilation at the hands of the Turkish military,” Rubio said, per a previous report from HillReporter.com.
There are added concerns, besides the appearance of abandoning a former ally, that the incursion by Turkey could result in thousands of ISIS prisoners, who the Kurds helped to capture, escaping during the military raids.
Trump claimed in a tweet late Wednesday evening that two of the most dangerous prisoners, which he described as the “worst of the worst,” had been removed from the area, and were being detained elsewhere. But according to a report from CNN, a Defense official said that as many as 12,000 other ISIS prisoners are still in the region.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) criticized the president in a tweet on Thursday morning, pointing out the president’s hypocrisy in the matter of prisoners, comparing the thousands that could potentially be released to the dozens Trump wants to keep imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.
President @realDonaldTrump's complained Guantanamo shouldn't be closed as 40 prisoners might be released
By pulling U.S. troops out of Northern Syria & letting Turkey attack the Kurds, reports say as many as 10,000 ISIS fighters could be released
He's putting America in danger
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 10, 2019
“President @realDonaldTrump’s complained Guantanamo shouldn’t be closed as 40 prisoners might be released,” Schumer wrote. By pulling U.S. troops out of Northern Syria & letting Turkey attack the Kurds, reports say as many as 10,000 ISIS fighters could be released.”
Schumer added that Trump’s decision on Syria is “putting America in danger.”
Trump lamented in September of this year that he didn’t want to add more prisoners to Guantanamo due to the high costs of maintaining the facility. But when asked by reporters if he wanted it closed, he stopped short of endorsing that idea, citing his predecessor’s failure to do so.
“Look, President Obama said that Guantánamo Bay would be closed, and he never got it done,” Trump argued, according to the New York Times.
As a candidate in 2016, however, Trump not only favored keeping Guantanamo opened, but told supporters at campaign rallies that even more prisoners were going to be put inside. “We’re gonna load it up with some bad dudes, believe me. We’re gonna load it up,” Trump said, per reporting from NPR.