Trump's Syria decision sets off scramble in White House

ABC News' Cecilia Vega and military analyst Steve Gaynard analyze the fallout from President Trump's decision to pull back U.S. troops in Syria.
2:32 | 10/08/19

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Transcript for Trump's Syria decision sets off scramble in White House
Okay, Martha, so much to dig into here. Let's bring in Cecilia Vega. Our military analyst Steve ganyard. Cecilia, let me begin with you. We saw the president say his decision is firm. These last 36 hours have been such a scramble inside the white house. Reporter: Oh, exactly, George. Aides here have really struggled to interpret the president's decision but perhaps more importantly than even inside the white house, outside the white house it has blindsided the senior most levels of all of Washington, the state department, you heard Martha there talk about the Pentagon, military leaders were forced to issue this statement trying to clean up the president's move, even evangelicals are mad saying it will end up hurting Christians in Syria, of course, those top Republican allies on capitol hill that scathing really a rare statement from Mitch Mcconnell saying that we need American leadership, the president was asked yesterday in that image you saw there surrounded by his generals if he consulted with the joint chiefs on this. He said he's consulted with everyone. That really doesn't seem to be the case at all. The critics are saying the president's decision was another impulsive one on foreign policy with life or death consequences this time. Let me bring in Steve ganyard. I worked in the white house. You served in the state and defense department. Nothing the way this unfolded is normal in the last 36 hours. As you know, every democratic and Republican president relies heavily on staff, both the interagency staffs to help set foreign policy. Usually when you have conversations between heads of state and a president, they're quite benign and nothing really changes but in this case every time we see Mr. Trump talk to Mr. Erdogan some radical changes come out that seem to be unilateral so Mr. Erdogan seems to be the trump whisperer. The big question because this blindsided the kurds who have been our partners. What will this mean for the military situation on the ground? What will happen with all those ISIS prisoner, thousands of them that the kurds have been protecting -- I mean imprisoning, excuse me. There's about a thousand maintaining the status quo to act as a buffer. The kurds as you note are keeping 10,000, 11,000 prisoners, 2,000 of which are foreign fighters who could go home and become sleeper cells. It creates a vacuum if we pull out. When president Obama pulled out of Iraq ISIS took over 25% of that country. The military knows that -- they've seen this movie and don't want to see it again.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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