Mitch McConnell Defies Donald Trump, Proposes Keeping Troops in Syria and Afghanistan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came out against President Donald Trump's foreign policy on Tuesday by proposing a measure that would keep U.S. troops in countries like Syria and Afghanistan to continue the fight against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

"It would recognize the danger of a precipitous withdrawal from either conflict, and highlight the need for diplomatic engagement and political solutions to the underlying conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan," McConnell told the Senate about the measure. "We have seen the costs of a precipitous withdrawal before in Iraq. And in Afghanistan, we have seen the downsides of telling the enemy they can just wait us out."

Trump, on the contrary, has announced that the U.S. will pull all troops out of Syria and significantly decrease the number of troops in Afghanistan. On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee heard briefings from the head of the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence. Both officials stressed that the fight against the Islamic State in the Middle East was still incomplete.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, speaks to reporters following the weekly Republican policy luncheon on February 24, 2015 at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate that ISIS "has returned to its guerrilla warfare roots while continuing to plot attacks and direct its supporters worldwide," and that ISIS is "intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria."

The comments directly contradicted Trump's previous statements that ISIS had been defeated.

The Director of National Intelligence released its World Wide Threat Assessment on Tuesday, which demonstrated that many intelligence community assessments are at odds with the president's statements.

"ISIS still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria, and it maintains eight branches, more than a dozen networks, and thousands of dispersed supporters around the world, despite significant leadership and territorial losses," the report reads. "The group will exploit any reduction in CT pressure to strengthen its clandestine presence and accelerate rebuilding key capabilities, such as media production and external operations. ISIS very likely will continue to pursue external attacks from Iraq and Syria against regional and Western adversaries, including the United States," the report noted.

In response to this assessment, McConnell said he will introduce an amendment to the "Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act," which affirms the U.S. commitment to Israel's security and holds accountable those responsible for crimes against Syrian civilians.

"My amendment would acknowledge the plain fact that al Qaeda, ISIS, and their affiliates in Syria and Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to our nation," McConnell noted Tuesday. "It would recognize the danger of a precipitous withdrawal from either conflict and highlight the need for diplomatic engagement and political solutions to the underlying conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan."

Mitch McConnell Defies Donald Trump, Proposes Keeping Troops in Syria and Afghanistan | World