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Maine Senators Predict Stinging Rebuke Of Trump Over Syria

Bulent Kilic
Getty Images via NPR

Maine’s two Senators say there is overwhelming support in the Senate for a resolution disapproving of President Trump’s sudden decision to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says the President has little GOP support in the Senate for his action, which has led to the Turkish attack on Kurdish forces that were closely allied with the United States in the fight against ISIS. She says only a few of her colleagues, led by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, are supporting Trump.

“There may be a few others, but the vast majority of the members of the caucus, of the Republican caucus, are very much opposed to the President’s decision,” Collins says.

Collins expects the resolution will pass by a wide margin once it is brought to the floor for a vote. She says Republican leader Mitch McConnell has instructed his caucus that he wants a stronger resolution than the one passed by the House, and he is supporting legislation being drafted by South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham that would impose significant sanctions on Turkey.

“So there is a lot of activity going on on this issue in the Senate, and I do believe there will be a strong rebuke of the President’s actions,” says Collins.

Independent Senator Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats, says there is overwhelming support in the Senate for both the resolution and the sanctions legislation, although the details of the sanctions have not been worked out. After hours of talks, Vice President Mike Pence announced that Turkey had agreed to a 120 hour cease fire to allow the Kurds to leave the area. King says its not clear what may happen next.

“If we can forestall a massacre and limit the Turks incursion into Syria, I think that will be a positive but it still won’t unravel the disastrous decision the President made,” King says.

King and Collins agree that the President’s sudden pull out of U.S. forces directly led to the Turkish invasion, and that the decision has been disastrous because it has undermined the credibility that the United States has with allies.

Originally published Oct. 17, 2019 at 4:48 p.m. ET.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.