Matt Gaetz Says 'Forever Wars' Are Part of 'Corporatist Agenda' as Trump Plans U.S. Troop Withdrawals

Republican congressman Matt Gaetz said "forever wars" were part of a "corporatist agenda" on Sunday, after President Donald Trump's administration unveiled plans to withdraw U.S. troops from the Middle East.

The Florida representative added that China had been growing "stronger and more ambitious" as the U.S. spent time "messing around" in the Middle East, arguing that the country need to refocus its attention on the communist superpower.

The Quote

"They want the forever wars. Remember, part of the corporatist agenda is to keep America engaged in these wars overseas.

"While we've been messing around in the Middle East, the Middle Kingdom has grown stronger and more ambitious, and that's why we need to confront China."

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz
Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images

Why it Matters

The Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced last week that the Pentagon would cut troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq before the end of Trump's term in the White House, stopping short of a wholesale withdrawal from the region.

He told reporters that the administration was drawing down almost half of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, along with 500 troops stationed in Iraq. The partial withdrawal would leave 2,500 American servicemembers in each country.

Miller added that the move would take place in a way that would "protect" those soldiers left in the region, as well as the "hard earned gains" of the last couple of decades.

"This is consistent with our established plans and strategic objectives supported by the American people and does not equate to a change in U.S. policy," the acting defense secretary said.

President Trump repeatedly spoke of bringing "endless wars" to a close during his presidency and the 2020 campaign cycle, in an effort to both trim costs and save the lives of American service personnel.

Counterpoint

While Rep. Gaetz has backed President Trump's move to withdraw troops from the Middle East before his own departure, some GOP lawmakers have raised concerns about the administration's plans for the region.

"A rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan now would hurt our allies and delight the people who wish us harm," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said. "The consequences of a premature American exit would likely be even worse than President Obama's withdrawal from Iraq back in 2011, which fueled the rise of ISIS and a new round of global terrorism."

The Florida Senator Marco Rubio added that he was concerned about a "Saigon-type of situation" emerging as the result of withdrawal in an interview with Politico last week.

General H. R. McMaster, a former national security adviser to President Trump, told CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday that he thought the administration's strategy for Afghanistan was "abhorrent" and hoped that President-elect Joe Biden's team would "reassess" the plan.