House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said they have agreed on the need for bipartisan efforts to respond to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria.
Both top Congress members posted on their respective Twitter accounts about their discussion early on Oct. 14. Speaker Pelosi said that she and Graham had agreed on the need for a bipartisan and bicameral joint resolution to oppose Trump’s move in the middle east.
“Pleased to have a conversation with Senator @LindseyGrahamSC this morning. Our first order of business was to agree that we must have a bipartisan, bicameral joint resolution to overturn the President’s dangerous decision in Syria immediately,” Pelosi wrote.
She added that they also agreed on working together on a Turkey sanctions package that would contain tougher penalties than the one the White House was considering.
Graham, who has been critical of Trump’s Syria decision, also gave his version of the call without mentioning the joint resolution. He said Pelosi supports bipartisan sanctions against Turkey while adding that she “believes we should show support for Kurdish allies and is concerned about the re-emergence of ISIS.”
“I will be working across party lines in a bicameral fashion to draft sanctions and move quickly, appreciating President Trump’s willingness to work with the Congress,” he added. “The Speaker indicated to me that time was of the essence.”
Graham said he will meet with Trump on Monday afternoon to discuss sanctions against Turkey over its invasion of Syria. On Sunday, Trump said he was working with Graham and lawmakers from both sides on the aisle regarding placing sanctions on Turkey.
“Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey,” Trump wrote. “Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”
Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey. Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2019
Graham told Fox & Friends during an appearance on Monday that there will be “crippling sanctions imposed by the Congress to supplement what the Trump administration has done” that will “break” Turkey’s economy and “crush [Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan] until he stops the bloodshed.” Graham added that Republicans, Democrats, and the Trump administration will hit Erdogan “like a ton of bricks.”
Syrian Kurdish forces previously aligned with the United States say they’ve reached a deal with Syrian President Bashar Assad to help fend off Turkey’s invasion.
Graham says the alliance between the Kurds and Assad is “not good” for the United States. He said “Assad equals Iran” and that “the last thing you want to do is to let Iran become more powerful in northeastern Syria.”
Trump has defended his decision on Sunday to pull troops from Syria during the Value Voters Summit. “I don’t think our soldiers should be there for the next 50 years guarding a border between Turkey and Syria when we can’t guard our own borders at home,” he said.
LIVE: President Trump at Values Voter Summit https://t.co/idmV4qTdSb
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 12, 2019
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Turkey may be committing war crimes in the region.
“It appears to be,” Esper agreed when host Margaret Brennan asked about whether its conduct against Kurdish forces constitutes a war crime.
“It’s a very terrible situation over there, a situation caused by the Turks. Despite our opposition, they decided to make this incursion,” Esper said.
Shortly after the United States started pulling troops from Syria, Turkey began an attack against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF aided the United States in defeating ISIS terrorists in Syria. But the Turkish government views them as a terrorist insurgency linked to the Marxist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Jack Phillips, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.