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Trump: Kurds Are 'Not Angels,' Have a Lot of Sand to Play With

President's comments seen as dismissive
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2019 12:37 PM CDT
President Donald Trump meets with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – In what Politico calls "perhaps the president’s most dismissive defense of his widely condemned decision earlier this month to allow Turkey to invade Syria," the president on Wednesday cast the US-allied Kurds as "not angels" who are fighting a battle "that has nothing to do with us." In comments made from the Oval Office as he sat beside Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Trump had had this to say: "The Kurds know how to fight, and as I said, they're not angels. They're not angels, if you take a look. You have to go back and take a look. But they fought with us, and we paid a lot of money for them to fight with us, and that's OK. They did well when they fought with us. They didn't do so well when they didn't fight with us.”

Politico notes the Kurds have turned to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for support. "The Kurds actually are pulling back substantially from Turkey, and Syria is pulling in," Trump said. But the New York Times writes he waved off concerns that he has provided an opening for Russia, Iran, and Syria to swoop into the area. "I wish them all a lot of luck," Trump said. "If Russia wants to get involved in Syria, that’s really up to them." In the AP's view, "The president appeared to make light of the desperate situation the Kurdish fighters face with the loss of US military support," and it points to this line as evidence of that: "They've got a lot of sand over there, so there's a lot of sand that they can play with." NBC News notes Trump characterized the decision to pull US troops as "strategically brilliant." (Read more President Trump stories.)

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