Prominent evangelical conservatives are upset with President Donald Trump’s endorsement of a Turkish military operation in Syria, citing concern that such involvement could “trigger the resurgence” of the Islamic State and give Iran more influence in the region.
Trump was slammed by conservatives Monday after he spoke with Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday and indicated that 100 to 150 United States military personnel would be pulled back in advance of a Turkish offensive in Syria that would target Kurdish rebels backed by the U.S. in the fight against IS.
Turkey considers Kurdish rebel groups to be terrorist insurgents that pose a security threat. There was concern over the stability of northeast Syria last winter when Trump announced a “full” and “rapid” withdrawal from Syria as Turkey launched a military campaign in the Afrin region.
Although conservative evangelicals are known to be one of Trump’s strongest political support bases, well-known Christian conservatives have not held back in voicing their disagreement with Trump’s policy on Syria.
Televangelist Pat Robertson and former presidential candidate and Fox News host Mike Huckabee opposed Trump’s decision to pull back troops, which reportedly also goes against the recommendations of top officials in the State Department and Pentagon.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I want to say right now I am absolutely appalled that the United States is going to betray those Democratic Forces in northern Syria and we possibly allow the Turks to come in against the Kurds,” Robertson said on the air Monday, adding that “Erdogan is a thug.”
Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The 700 Club,” argued that Erdogan has “taken control of his country as a dictator.”
“To say he is an ally of America is nonsense. He is in it for himself. The president that allowed [Jamal] Khashoggi to be cut in pieces without repercussions whatsoever is now allowing the Christians and the Kurds to be massacred by the Turks,” Robertson added. “I believe and I want to say this with great salinity, the president of the United States is losing the mandate of Heaven if he permits this to happen.”
Huckabee, a former Republican governor of Arkansas and former Baptist pastor, wrote on Twitter that he generally supports Trump on foreign policy and doesn’t want troops fighting “other nations’ wars.” But Huckabee contended that it is a “HUGE mistake to abandon the Kurds.”
“They’ve never asked us to do THEIR fighting-just give them tools to defend themselves,” Huckabee wrote. “They have been faithful allies. We CANNOT abandon them.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith