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Senate Rebukes Trump on Troop Withdrawals

McConnell wins bipartisan support for measure warning about al-Qaeda and ISIS
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2019 5:45 PM CST
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's measure critical of President Trump's planned troop withdrawals received 63 votes Thursday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – The Senate rebuked President Trump on Thursday over his reasoning for withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan. The reprimand brought by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won bipartisan support, 68-23, the Washington Post reports. Trump had tweeted news of the withdrawal from Syria in December, saying that ISIS had been defeated in the country. In warning against the withdrawal, the Senate argues with that claim. The measure, which is part of a broader Middle East bill, says al-Qaeda and ISIS are "a global threat, which merits increased international contributions to the counterterrorism, diplomatic and stabilization efforts underway in Syria and Afghanistan."

Senate Republicans have rebelled against Trump's foreign policy infrequently, though envoy Brett McGurk and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis resigned shortly after Trump's tweet. But 56 senators did cast a vote in December against Trump’s isolationist policies by backing a resolution on the war in Yemen, Axios points out. NPR reports that McConnell's resolution calls on the administration to thoroughly review its strategy in Syria and to certify the lasting defeat of al-Qaeda and ISIS before approving any significant withdrawal of US forces from Syria or Afghanistan. The measure doesn't carry the force of law but does put the Senate's opposition on the record. (A month after Trump declared victory in Syria, US troops were killed there.)

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