Donald Trump 'Changing Course Like a Drunken Sailor' With Syria Policy, Congressman Says

Representative Adam Smith slammed President Donald Trump's reversal of his order to immediately withdraw troops from Syria, arguing that the U.S. needs "rational policy."

Speaking to CNN's Kate Bolduan on Monday, the Democrat who serves as the chair of the House Armed Services Committee lashed out at Trump, saying he changes his mind seemingly on a whim. Smith said that the president's shifting position "undermines our credibility."

"He's changing course like a drunken sailor," Smith said. "There's no thought behind it." The congressman argued that "what we need is actually rational policy in Syria, on border security. All we have is the emotional rantings of a child."

On Syria troop withdrawal: "He's changing course like a drunken sailor.....All we have is the emotional rantings of a child."

That from the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee @RepAdamSmith

— Kate Bolduan (@KateBolduan) January 7, 2019

Smith also accused Trump of going "back and forth depending on what the last person says to him."

In December, Trump announced that all U.S. troops stationed in Syria were "coming back now." He insisted that the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) had been "defeated" to justify his surprise decision. That move led to the resignation of General James Mattis, who was serving as secretary of defense, as well as that of Brett McGurk, who was the U.S. envoy to forces fighting to defeat ISIS.

Many Republican lawmakers also blasted Trump over the planned withdrawal, with GOP Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina calling it "a huge Obama-like mistake." Graham and others quickly pointed out that ISIS had not in fact been defeated, as Trump had claimed.

Then on Sunday, Trump and John Bolton, his national security adviser, dramatically reversed course. The president said that the pullout wouldn't happen "until ISIS is gone," apparently ignoring his previous argument that the group was already decimated. Bolton also said that the U.S. would remain in Syria until the U.S.-designated terrorist group was defeated and protection for the Kurds had been guaranteed, a process that may take many months or even years.

The Failing New York Times has knowingly written a very inaccurate story on my intentions on Syria. No different from my original statements, we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!.....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2019

When The New York Times and other publications pointed out that Trump had shifted his position, the president insisted that his new plan was "no different than" his "original statements." He added that the military "will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!"

Although Trump has been criticized for his abrupt reversal, Graham and others in Washington praised the shift. "I applaud the president for reevaluating what he's doing," the senator said on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday. "He has a goal in mind of reducing our presence. I share that goal. Let's just do it smartly."

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President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., on January 6. Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images