Count Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio among those angry at President Donald Trump for withdrawing from Syria after declaring “we have defeated ISIS” there.
Trump on Thursday defended his Wednesday surprise announcement the U.S. would withdraw from the region by saying local players would need to deal with the Islamic State.
“Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing?” Trump tweeted.
“Do we want to be there forever? Time for others to finally fight. Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy about the U.S. leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us.
“I am building by far the most powerful military in the world. ISIS hits us they are doomed!”
While Russian President Vladimir Putin made clear today he’s quite happy with Trump’s announcement, Florida’s soon-to-be senior senator remains displeased.
“War on ISIS isn’t a US police action on behalf of other countries,” Rubio tweeted. “ISIS wants to carry out and inspire attacks against Americans. It’s better to fight them in Syria than fight them here. Especially when the Kurds, with help from our special forces, are doing most of ground fighting.”
Rubio gave a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday evening condemning the decision as a major blunder.
“I honestly believe that this is a catastrophic decision for America’s national security and interest,” Rubio said.
“We in this congress and we as a nation will be dealing with the consequences for years to come.”
Rubio went so far as to say when Putin speaks with partners in the U.S. including Israel, he will now be able to stay he stood as a more reliable and steadfast ally of allies like Assad while America walked away from the situation.
Specifically, he said as a post-ISIS Syria moves forward, the United States will no longer have a seat at the table the same as Turkey, Iran and Russia. That leaves allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to dictate the future of the region.
The decision on Syria put on display a sharp divide between the neoconservative wing, which largely informed Republican foreign policy during President George W. Bush’s administration, and the nationalist “America First” wing of the party setting the philosophy direction in the Trump White House.
Rubio remains a champion of aggressive foreign policy while Trump has taken a marched shift toward stepping away from conflict except when American interests are directly under siege.
Watch Rubio’s speech from the floor: