(NEW YORK) — Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, appeared on ABC’s The View criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, saying the White House is leaving its Kurdish allies “to the wolves.”
“The message that that sends to all of our potential allies and partners around the world is, you know, when the president wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, we’ll throw you under the bus,” she told the hosts Wednesday morning. “That’s the first problem.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced in a Twitter post Wednesday morning that his troops launched their invasion into northern Syria, prepared for an offensive strike against the Kurdish forces that helped the United States defeat ISIS.
Rice, also a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the U.S. role on the ground in northern Syria has been very limited, providing mainly training, advice, equipment and air support.
“The second problem is these people, the Kurds, were protecting some 10,000 or more ISIS terrorists [from escaping] that were being held in detention. Now that we have abandoned them, they have no choice but to fight and defend themselves. Those prisoners are either going to be released or escape,” she said. “That’s more than 10,000 fighters that can threaten us in the region, can threaten us through our partners in Europe or can potentially threaten us here in the homeland. The president has traded our national security for — I would like to know what.”
She came on the show to promote her new memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, which gives a candid look into her public service career and the lessons she said she learned through the triumphs and tribulations. In one controversy, Rice was heavily scrutinized for reading from an intelligence community memo in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
In another, Trump accused Rice of committing a crime in 2017 when she had the names of Americans — who turned out to be Trump’s associates — unmasked in a classified foreign intelligence report. The president did not offer any evidence for his claim that Rice’s actions were criminal, and she has repeatedly said the unmasking process was routine and not politically motivated.
Rice was also a player in the Obama administration’s policy decision to get involved in Syria, one she said she didn’t fully support.
“As I write in my book ‘Tough Love,’ I was the one official sitting at the table, the one cabinet official who thought it was a mistake to ask Congress for authorization before using force in Syria. So I was a lone, dissenting voice. As I look back and reflect, I was right about the politics,” she said on the show. “I didn’t think that President Obama would be granted support from Congress, and he wasn’t, but I think I was wrong about the policy.”
The show’s co-host Meghan McCain claimed Obama too was a hands-off president when it came to the region. McCain questioned Rice’s defense of the decision to provide support to the rebels, but not boots on the ground, during the Syrian civil war.
“It was (Obama) who initiated the fight against ISIS which has been successfully prosecuted,” she said. “We can debate for years the wisdom of that choice. He made the right choice, I think we all agree, to go fight ISIS, and now what’s happened is President Trump has decided on a whim that we’re done with that.”
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