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Sewell votes to condemn Trump’s abandonment of Kurdish allies

Congresswoman Terri Sewell during a committee hearing. Office of Rep. Terri Sewell

Wednesday, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-Selma) voted in favor of a bicameral, bipartisan resolution condemning President Donald J. Trump’s (R) decision to abruptly withdraw American troops from northern Syria.

“The President’s decision to abandon our Kurdish partners is a capitulation to Turkey and Russia and a grave betrayal of one our strongest allies in the Middle East,” Representative Sewell said. “His reckless order means that, already, Russia has moved to occupy American bases there, dozens of people have been killed and hundreds of ISIS fighters and supporters have escaped. President Trump’s decision not only puts at risk the stability of the region, U.S. forces and gains against ISIS, but also weakens American partnerships around the world.”

The bipartisan resolution passes with the overwhelming support of both political parties on a 354 to 60 vote. 225 Democrats voted in favor of the nonbinding resolution. Republicans voted for the resolution 129 in favor to 60 opposed.

On Friday, Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) expressed his concerns about the President’s abrupt change in foreign policy.

“I joined the Rick & Bubba Show to discuss President Trump’s recent decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria,” Palmer said on social media. “I think it unwise to pull back from an area the U.S. has taken control of in the past, and I have serious concerns about abandoning our Kurdish allies.”

Reps. Palmer, Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville), Martha Roby (R-Montgomery), and Mike Rogers (R-Saks) all voted in favor of the resolution.

The President’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria was opposed by his National Security Advisor John Bolton. Bolton was fired by the President for his opposition to the policy. As Bolton predicted, Turkey has invaded Syria, Kurds have been massacred, and the region is now facing a wider war as a result of the decision.

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Trump has announced sanctions against Turkey, a NATO ally.

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) met with President Trump at the White House.

“I strongly support President Trump’s decision to initiate executive order sanctions against Turkish officials and economy for Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria,” Graham said in a statement. “Turkey is attacking the Kurdish forces that supported us the most in destroying the ISIS Caliphate.”

“At the President’s invitation today, I joined him and his team for phone calls with key leaders in this conflict,” Graham continued. “President Trump made it clear to President Erdogan this incursion is widely unpopular in the United States, greatly destabilizing to the region, is putting in jeopardy our successes against ISIS, and will eventually benefit Iran.”

“The President made it clear to Turkish officials that any attack on Kobani, a Kurdish enclave near the Turkish border, would be an international outrage that could not stand,” Graham added. “President Trump is trying to end the bloodshed through a negotiations deal addressing Turkey’s concerns about certain Kurdish elements near their border. At the same time, he wants to make sure our Kurdish allies are not abandoned. President Trump gave Turkey the ability to undo the strategic damage they have already caused in a win-win fashion. I hope they will accept his outreach. Until there is a ceasefire and an end to the bloodshed, sanctions must continue and increase over time.

“Equally important, President Trump reached out to General Mazloum, the leader of Kurdish forces that led the main assaults against the ISIS Caliphate in Syria,” said Graham. “President Trump assured General Mazloum that he would do everything possible to stop the Turkish incursion and seek a negotiated settlement beneficial to all parties. President Trump was very firm in highlighting the need that thousands of ISIS prisoners in the custody of Kurdish forces cannot and should not be released. President Trump has also put great pressure on our European allies to deal with the ISIS prison population, a step I completely support.”

“Finally, I would urge my Republican and Democratic colleagues to continue to speak out against Turkey’s incursion into Syria and support President Trump’s efforts to impose crippling sanctions against Turkey,” Graham concluded. “In the meantime, I think it would be wise to allow the Administration an opportunity to meet with Turkey and other interested parties to see if we can find an end to the bloodshed with a sustainable solution regarding ISIS and other U.S. national security concerns.”

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The strong bipartisan vote puts pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to bring the resolution up on the Senate floor. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Todd Young (R-Indiana) are sponsoring the senate measure.

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell is the Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support and is serving in her fifth term representing the Seventh Congressional District.

(Original reporting by Fox News, the Daily KOS, and NC Policy Watch contributed to this report.)

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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