Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group, has resigned in protest over President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, a US official says, joining Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in an administration exodus of experienced national security figures. Only 11 days ago, McGurk had said it would be "reckless" to consider IS defeated and therefore would be unwise to bring American forces home, per the AP. McGurk decided to speed up his original plan to leave his post in mid-February. Appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in 2015 and retained by Trump, McGurk says in his resignation letter that the militants were on the run, but not yet defeated, and that the premature pullout could be a boon to ISIS.
He also cites gains in accelerating the campaign against ISIS, but says the work was not yet done. His letter, submitted Friday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was described to the AP on Saturday by an official familiar with its contents. In a tweet shortly after news of McGurk's resignation broke, Trump again defended his decision to pull all of the roughly 2,000 US forces from Syria in the coming weeks. "We were originally going to be there for three months, and that was seven years ago—we never left," Trump tweeted. "When I became President, ISIS was going wild. Now ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains. We're coming home!" Click for the full story. (Or see why Trump got skewered by a normally loyal Fox show.)