A bipartisan group of Oklahoma’s members of Congress are joining the chorus of backlash to President Donald Trump’s plan to pull U.S. forces from Syria.
Trump announced the plan early in the week, which has been met with resistance from both his staunchest opponents and allies particularly in Congressional armed forces committees. The plan has also been criticized by former administration foreign policy officials and experts who say a swift troop withdrawal could leave U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in Syria at risk from both the Turkish government and ongoing fighting with terror groups.
Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe alongside Republican Representative Tom Cole and Kendra Horn, Oklahoma's only Democrat, called on Trump to reconsider his plan.
In her statement Horn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, called the plan "irresponsible."
"Abandoning our allies sends the message that the U.S. is an unpredictable and unreliable partner in the fight against terror."
Representative Cole, who is Oklahoma's longest serving member of the House and who also sits on the House Appropriations subcommittee on Defense said in his statement, “This policy is a risky move that will not only undo significant gains but may well invite aggression by other bad actors and terrorists." Cole also carries significant sway among members of the House on Capitol Hill.
Senator Inhofe who chairs the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee said he agrees with the President on ending U.S. involvement in drawn-out conflict in the Middle East but also had a warning.
"Steps must be taken to prevent a security vacuum in northeastern Syria that would benefit terrorists, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, and Iran, and harm our national security interests,” Inhofe said.
Inhofe’s criticism is of note, given the close relationship shared by be he and the President. The pair are frequently on the phone and often call each other personally. The senior Senator has been a source of guidance for President Trump in military matters along with one of his most outspoken allies of Trump. His criticism may well hold sway within the Administration as Congressional criticism mounts. Inhofe said in his statement he looks forward to discussing the new plan with the President.