Fox News Host Says Trump 'Must Realize He Made a Huge Mistake' Withdrawing Troops from Syria

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade criticized President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria as bipartisan backlash continues to mount against the commander in chief's abrupt shift in U.S. military strategy in Syria.

Trump's decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria has left former Kurdish allies exposed to a Turkish offensive, which began last week. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled from the Turkish advance, which Ankara claims will help establish a "safe zone" for millions of Syrian refugees.

But the Turkish attack, focused on Kurds it has long regarded as a terrorist threat, has elicited warnings from humanitarian organizations and has reportedly been accompanied by summary executions. The Turkish campaign has also provoked a rare dissent from Republican politicians and conservative pundits, which showed no signs of abating, despite Trump's attempt to quell criticism.

"It's been worse than anyone could have imagined," Kilmeade, a co-host of Fox & Friends, said on Monday. "So, it's bipartisan outrage. The president must realize he made a huge mistake and just say 'listen, I had a conversation with Erdogan, he misled me like everyone of the region.'"

Trump has challenged critical Fox News coverage and, after a poll conducted by the network showed a majority of Americans want him impeached and removed from office, lashed out at the network's pollster. The president, who regularly watches and retweets positive sentiments voiced on FNC, quickly responded to Kilmeade.

"Brian Kilmeade over at [Fox & Friends] it all wrong," he tweeted, claiming that "big sanctions" on Turkey are coming and "Never ending wars will end!"

Trump has depicted the military withdrawal as the fulfillment of his campaign pledge to stop American involvement in long-running wars. But critics, like Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, have argued that "putting an end to endless war doesn't mean ending American engagement around the world. Often it means making sure we do our part to stabilize or help keep the peace so that full-blown conflicts don't break out."

Kurdish fighters have accused the United States of betrayal, terminology also put forth by U.S. lawmakers. Politicians from both parties have expressed alarm that the Kurdish forces could release Islamic State group militants as they turn attention away from their ad hoc prison facilities and toward fighting the Turkish incursion.

On Sunday, Kurdish fighters previously allied with the U.S. announced an alliance with the Syrian government. CNN reported that Syrian forces were advancing toward Turkish fighters.

Just days after he announced the withdrawal of troops from the Syrian-Turkish border, the president said he would be sending 3,000 troops to Saudi Arabia to protect against what Washington has alleged are Iranian attacks against Saudi oil facilities.

Turkey
Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa, on the sixth day of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces. OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images