The Republican-controlled Senate issued a rare rebuke to President Donald Trump on Thursday, taking issue with his plans to withdraw troops from certain parts of the Middle East.
The Senate voted 68-23 to express their disapproval of a “precipitous withdrawal” from Afghanistan and Syria. The resolution was sponsored by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, normally a staunch ally of the president. The bill’s stated purpose was:
To express the sense of the Senate that the United States faces continuing threats from terrorist groups operating in Syria and Afghanistan and that the precipitous withdrawal of United States forces from either country could put at risk hard-won gains and United States national security.
The bill was a non-binding resolution and thus largely symbolic. Only three Republican senators voted against the Resolution: John Kennedy of Louisiana, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ted Cruz of Texas all voted against the resolution. The other 20 “Nay” votes were cast by Democrats. Nine senators did not vote. (RELATED: Obama’s Syria Ambassador Backs Trump’s Decision)
Trump announced last year that he was withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan. For his decision, Trump has faced criticism from Republicans who are normally supportive of his domestic priorities, such as Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida, who disagree with Trump’s claim that he has eliminated ISIS’ impact in the region.
Trump and Graham had a meeting at the White House shortly after the president announced his decision, after which Graham claimed Trump promised that he would proceed cautiously.