Following Deadly Attack in Syria, Graham Says Trump’s Statements Provided ‘Enthusiasm’ for ISIS

Lindsey Graham

Less than a month after President Donald Trump declared ISIS was defeated in Syria, four Americans and multiple others were killed in an ISIS car bomb in the Middle Eastern country.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), usually one of Trump’s defenders, criticized the president at the time. On Wednesday, he used time during the attorney general confirmation hearing to address the attack.

“My concern about the statements made by President Trump is that you’ve set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting,” Graham said. “You make people who are trying to help wonder about us. And as they get bolder, the people that are trying to help are gonna get more uncertain. I saw this in Iraq, and I’m now seeing it in Syria.”

Graham agreed with Trump’s sentiment that he wants American troops sent home, but the South Carolina senator expressed that he didn’t think it was safe to do so.

“To those who lost their lives today in Syria, you were defending America, in my view,” he concluded. “To those in Syria who are trying to work together, you are providing the best and only hope for your country. I hope the president will look long and hard about what we’re doing in Syria.”

Watch the full statement below:

Trump surprisingly announced in mid-December on Twitter that ISIS was defeated in Syria. This came with scrutiny from lawmakers and national security experts alike.

Trump accompanied the tweet with a video in which he explained his decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

“We have won against ISIS,” he said. “We’ve beaten them, and we’ve beaten them badly. We’ve taken back the land, and now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”

Watch the video below:

Graham was one of the most vocal lawmakers who spoke out against Trump’s decision. Trump even criticized the senator on Twitter while simultaneously subtly backtracking on his statement that ISIS was completely defeated.

Trump continued promoting his pullout of troops in the region as recently as Sunday.

According to CNN, Wednesday’s attack happened in Manbij, a city in the northern region of Syria. Among the dead were two U.S. service members, a defense contractor, and a Department of Defense civilian. Three more U.S. service members were injured in the explosion.