WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — President Donald Trump is defending himself against criticism from Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of his closest political allies, over the president's recent move to take U.S. forces out of Syria.
Trump addressed Graham's remarks Wednesday after Graham released a series of tweets critiquing the decision.
"I firmly believe that if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq," Graham said online.
"The worst thing any Commander in Chief can do is to give land back to the enemy that was taken through blood and sacrifice," he added hours later.
A reporter asked Trump about the comments during a news conference the president conducted with Italy's leader.
"Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years, with thousands of soldiers, and fighting other people's wars," the President said. "I want to get out of the Middle East."
The President said Graham, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, should instead be focused on investigating the origins of the Russia investigation that ultimately led to the creation of Robert Mueller's 17 month-long probe.
"That's what the people of South Carolina want him to focus on. The people of South Carolina don't want us to get in a war with Turkey, a NATO member, or with Syria. Let them fight their own wars. They've been fighting for 1,000 years.
"The people of South Carolina want to see those troops come home. And I won an election based on that. And that's the way it is. Whether it's good or bad. That's the way it is. And if you'd look at this country I'd be willing to bet anything political instinct that's what the country wants."
Graham said he's working on getting Congressional sanctions against Turkey. He said he still hopes the President reconsiders.