Donald Trump's Claim That the Military Ran Out of Ammunition Is 'Not True,' House Armed Services Committee Member Says

A Democratic member of Congress and Iraq War veteran has dismissed President Donald Trump's suggestion that the U.S. military had run out of ammunition when he took office.

Trump made the outlandish claim during a press conference following a briefing from senior military officials at the White House. He told assembled reporters that a "top general" explained the predicament when he took office in 2016.

"When I took over our military, we did not have ammunition," Trump said. "I was told by a top general, maybe the top of them all, 'Sir, I'm sorry sir, we don't have ammunition.' I said, 'I'll never let another president have that happen to him or her.' We didn't have ammunition."

Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego—a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who sits on the House Armed Services Committee—was among those which quickly challenged Trump's statement on social media.

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"Again this is not true," he wrote on Twitter. "I get briefings as a member of the House Armed Services Committee on our munitions stockpile all over the world. We have never run out of ammunition."

Gallego added, "Who is this top general? I will put them under oath before the House Armed Services Committee."

A significant portion of Trump's press conference was dedicated to his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria around the border with Turkey. The area is currently held by Kurdish forces, who liberated the east of the country from ISIS with U.S. and coalition support.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to accept a strong Kurdish authority on his border. Turkey has been fighting an insurgency waged by its minority Kurdish population for decades, and considers the Kurdish forces in Syria an existential threat.

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The local U.S. withdrawal appears to have given a green light to a Turkish military operation, though both Trump and the Pentagon have denied suggestions that Washington is encouraging a new Turkish incursion into Syria.

Trump is facing criticism from across the political spectrum for the move, accused of abandoning the U.S.' most effective and trusted ally in the battle against ISIS. But the president has refused to admit wrongdoing, arguing that this is no longer America's fight.

"Many people agree with it very strongly," Trump told reporters Monday. "I understand both sides of it, I fully understand both sides of it. But I campaigned on the fact that I was going to bring our soldiers home, and bring them home as rapidly as possible."

"I, we, all together, you—we defeated and took over 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate," he added. He did not mention that the vast majority of fighting was conducted by Kurdish-led forces, backed by U.S. and allied airstrikes, special forces and intelligence.

The anti-ISIS coalition suffered around 11,000 casualties in the fight against the extremist group.

When a reporter noted the toll, Trump responded, "And we've lost a lot of fighters too." The U.S. has lost 88 military and Department of Defense civilian personnel in the campaign against ISIS across both Syria and Iraq.

"Everybody said that was going to be an impossible thing to do," Trump continued. "I did it, and I did it quickly, because we have a great military now."

The president also implied that any conflict between Turkey and the Kurds should come as no surprise. Trump said the Kurds are "a natural enemy of Turkey" and that "they've been fighting each other for hundreds of years."

U.S. military, ammunition, Donald Trump, Syria, Kurds
This file photo shows a U.S. Army adviser reloading ammunition during a training mission on September 13, 2017 outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images/Getty
Donald Trump's Claim That the Military Ran Out of Ammunition Is 'Not True,' House Armed Services Committee Member Says | Politics