Former Maine Senator and U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen is speaking out against President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. support from the Syrian conflict. In an appearance on CNN Thursday, Cohen said that the decision amounts to the U.S. abandoning its allies, a move he says puts the nation in danger.
"We depend upon our allies to keep us secure. We depend upon having allies the world over - that extends our defense perimeter," Cohen said. "And when you start pulling our troops out, bad things happen and we are betraying the security of this country."
Cohen, a Republican, said President Trump is systematically "demolishing" the United States security and stability.
"The president has taken a wrecking ball to every pillar of stability and security that we've erected over the past 60, 70 years," he said.
Cohen's concerns echoed those expressed Thursday by Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent, and other lawmakers, Pentagon officials and defense experts. He said the decision leaves the world a more chaotic place than it was before.
Cohen represented Maine in the U.S. Senate for three terms. In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed him Secretary of Defense, a position he served in until 2001.
Originally published 6:42 a.m. Dec. 21, 2018