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Trumpdates: And So It Begins

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | October 7, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | October 7, 2019 |


8:24: Nothing suspicious about Trump checking off everything on Putin’s bucket list right now.

8:08: A letter, from an actual attorney in support of another actual attorney, in Comic Sans. COMIC SANS.

3:45: Back to back tweets on my timeline:

*“Trumpdates” courtesy of Nateman

2:20: A number of Republican Senators have spoken out against Trump with regard to Turkey/Syria/Kurds today, which at least illustrates that they are capable of it. Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, Kevin McCarthy, Mike Huckabee, and even Mitch McConnell have criticized Trump over this plan.

“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup,” McConnell said. Benefit Russia, you say? Isn’t that the point, Moscow Mitch?

11:42: “Great and unmatched wisdom.”

11:20: I honestly cannot get over the fact that Trump made a decision to abandon Syrian Kurds and essentially allow Turkey to wipe them out after a single phone call with Turkey’s President, Erdogan, yesterday. This does not rally his base, and it turns his own party against him. What is the upside here?

That’s the thing with Trump: You just don’t know what kind of self-dealing he’s doing behind the scenes. He essentially tried this earlier in the year when he announced on Twitter that he’d pull troops out of Syria, and in both cases, the decisions seemed to be unilateral. They went against the Pentagon, all of his advisors, and even his loyal Republican party members. James Mattis resigned in protest.

And now he’s doing it again. We can only speculate as to why, but leverage is a motherf**ker. We didn’t understand why VP Pence called off his trip for the inauguration of the new Ukrainian President at the time. We didn’t understand why Trump was slow-walking aid to Ukraine at the time. But now, all of that has become clear. I feel like this is another one of those decisions that will probably make sense three or four months from now when we finally discover what Trump’s true motivations were.

Is it because the Russians also have leverage on Trump? Or does Turkey have leverage on Trump? Someone on Twitter known for floating a lot of lefty conspiracy theories threw out another one this morning, and it was hard to dismiss: Did Trump and Kushner know that Jamal Khashoggi’s life was in danger in advance of his brutal murder? Did Turkey know that Trump and Kushner knew in advance? Was the Trump administration involved? Recall that Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. It was the Turkish government that revealed that Khashoggi had been murdered, dismembered, and dissolved in acid. Recall, too, that Trump’s phone calls with Turkey were also placed in that secret server.

It’s all conspiracy, but given what we know about Trump, it’s all very plausible. A week ago, Erdogan wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post about Khashoggi’s murder. Here’s an excerpt:

Going forward, Turkey pledges to continue its efforts to shed light on the Khashoggi murder. We will keep asking the same questions that I raised in an op-ed for this newspaper last year: Where are Khashoggi’s remains? Who signed the Saudi journalist’s death warrant? Who dispatched the 15 killers, including a forensic expert, aboard the two planes to Istanbul?

Is that a promise? Or is it a threat?

If Lindsey Graham and the Senate thwart Trump’s attempts to aid Turkey here, what happens then?

Publisher’s Note: For the time being, we are going to contain each day’s Trump news in one post that we will update throughout the day. On updates, however, I will be removing the image from the post so as not to overwhelm the other fantastic content on the site. It is not a technical glitch.


I did not anticipate when I woke up this morning that Turkey, Syria, and the Kurds would be the major topic of conversation in the political world, but welcome to the Trump presidency. More on that in a moment. For now, note that a federal judge has ordered that Trump turn over eight years of tax returns to the Manhattan D.A. as part of the investigation into campaign finance violations associated with Trump’s payments to Stormy Daniels via Michael Cohen. Trump, obviously, is expected to appeal.

Meanwhile, Trump’s decision to endorse a Turkish military operation in Syria this morning pushes the impeachment inquiry off the front page for the moment. It’s unclear if that was the point, or if he may be using the impeachment inquiry as cover so that he can do something he’s long wanted to do, or if Trump just really wants to do the bidding of the Russians and Turks, given Trump’s weirdly close relationship with Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan.

I’m going to simplify this issue best I can: For many years, we have been fighting ISIS. The Kurds have been our strongest ally in the region in doing so, and they have lost up to 10,000 troops in that effort to help.

Turkey, however, doesn’t like the Kurds — they think they’re a terrorist insurgency. Turkey wants to invade Northern Syria, take over that territory, and use it to accommodate the return of at least one million Syrian migrants now inside of Turkey. To do so, the Turks may — no, probably will — completely wipe out the Kurds, who have largely been protected by the United States. By removing our troops, Trump is basically hanging out the Kurds to dry, and it also removes an important counterweight to the Russians. It also endangers a lot counterintelligence work, and ultimately could lead to not just the deaths of Kurdish forces — again, our strongest ally in the region — but the resurrection of ISIS, which Trump keeps saying that we have wiped out (we have not). The Syrian Kurds, for instance, are also holding 10,000 ISIS fighters in make-shift prisons there, and no one knows what will happen to them during this operation.

Here’s how Trump addressed the situation on Twitter:

The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades. I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.

“Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out, and what they want to do with the captured ISIS fighters in their ‘neighborhood.’ They all hate ISIS, have been enemies for years. We are 7000 miles away and will crush ISIS again if they come anywhere near us!”

You don’t have to know a lot about Middle Eastern politics to understand what Trump is doing: He’s abandoning allies who have fought with us for years because the war no longer suits him. Why would he do this? Ostensibly, he says, it’s because he doesn’t want our military involved in areas in which we have no immediate short term interests.

But also, because it’s probably what Russia wants, and when you have a President who owes his Presidency to the Russians (and perhaps his re-election) you can’t overlook those motives because even warmongering John Bolton tried to protect the Kurds. With a President known to make decisions to benefit only himself financially, you can’t overlook that motivation, either.

This is such a huge departure for the United States that even Linsday Graham is pissed off.

Graham took to Fox & Friends to speak out against the President.

The New York Times won’t use say the word “lie” in reference to Trump, but Graham will:

Even Brian Kilmeade at Fox & Friends is furious:

With this move, Trump is endangering our relationship with all of our allies:

Ultimately, the problem with Trump is that he doesn’t understand foreign policy and given all of what we know about him, we have no idea whose interests he’s serving here, except his own. And apparently, that’s worth the literal lives of some of our strongest allies.

Header Image Source: Getty Images