A letter from President Trump to his Turkish counterpart surfaced Wednesday—and it was so unusual that many commentators initially had trouble believing it was real. Trump begins the letter to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which was first obtained by Fox, by saying "Let's work out a good a deal!" He follows that up with a threat, saying: "You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy—and I will." He tells Erdogan that a Kurdish military leader is willing to talk and warns him: "History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen. Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!" Trump tells Erdogan he will call him later.
The letter is dated Oct. 9, days after Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria. The White House confirmed that the letter is genuine. Sources say lawmakers were handing around copies of the letter in the House and Senate Wednesday. The House voted 354-60 Wednesday to condemn the US withdrawal. Some Democrats called the Trump letter an "embarrassment." "I actually thought it was a prank, a joke, that it couldn't possibly come from the Oval Office," Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley tells CNN. "It sounds all the world like the president of the United States, in some sort of momentary lapse, just dictated angrily whatever was on the top of his head." (Nancy Pelosi says Trump had a "meltdown" during a meeting on Syria Wednesday.)