"The View" co-host Meghan McCain criticized the White House's decision late Sunday to pull back American troops from northern Syria as Turkey prepares for an offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
The Turkish operation would likely place those in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — the vast majority of whom are Kurdish YPG fighters — in danger as Turkey considers the Kurdish YPG forces to be a terrorist organization. With logistical advice and supplies provided by the U.S., the SDF played a key role in helping to defeat ISIS.
On "The View" on Monday, hours after a U.S. official confirmed the White House's decision to ABC News, McCain said she was going "a little bit rogue" to highlight the news.
"I've been so mad this morning and so upset about this news that we are abandoning our Kurdish allies in the Middle East. These are allies of ours that American soldiers are still continuing to fight alongside," McCain said. "All we did was arm them and they fought for America, and right now, we're just saying we're just going to leave them and abandon them."
"To everyone in the White House and every Republican who was mad that President Obama pulled out of Iraq: you feckless, unpatriotic cowards," McCain continued. "I cannot believe this is where we're at diplomatic-wise. What message is this sending to our allies who have fought alongside us and American troops who have fought and died for this?"
Although President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that ISIS has been defeated, including on Twitter Monday morning, recent reports have found otherwise. Just last month, military leaders told ABC News that ISIS fighters were working toward an insurgency. There was also a growing threat last month of ISIS fighters breaking out of Syrian and Iraqi prison camps, according to a report and senior U.S. official.
The White House confirmed on Monday that Turkey would also take possession of all ISIS fighters who were captured in the last two years.
"This is a great day for ISIS and Assad. Shame on everyone for supporting this," McCain said.
McCain was referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been in power in the country for nearly two decades and who is seen by many as a brutal dictator. His regime, supported by Russia, stands to benefit from a Turkish operation against Kurdish forces, which have opposed the regime for years.
"The vacuum that is going to be left is going to foster the growth of ISIS," McCain said. "We can fight them over there or we can fight them over here, and I am a person who believes that this will only get worse as it did after we left Iraq."
McCain added that she believes the announcement "might be a wag-the-dog situation" meant to distract from a second whistleblower in Trump's dealings with Ukraine. She said she was more upset about the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria than about Trump's call with Ukraine's president.
"If you support our allies, if you support people who believe in freedom and democracy and fighting on the right side, and you still support this [withdrawal] at the same time, then you're not a conservative. You're just not," McCain said, "and you’re not an America-first individual."
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