- Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons
- John Cornyn speaks during an appearance at the conservative CPAC conference.
Even as Republican colleagues — including Ted Cruz, Texas' other senator — continue to rip the president for jerking U.S. troops out of Syria, Cornyn defended the move on a Wednesday media call, the Dallas Morning News reports.
“If Turkey was planning on coming into northern Syria and trying to ethnically cleanse the Kurds, and U.S. troops were caught in the middle, I am not completely convinced that it was a bad idea to get them out of harm’s way,” Cornyn said.
Cornyn's statement came two hours after Trump announced he would lift all sanctions on Turkey, which launched attacks on members of the Kurdish ethnic group in Syria shortly after the pullout of U.S. forces began.
Trump's withdrawal met with a bipartisan chorus of disapproval. Lawmakers warned that he'd stabbed an ally in the back and provided a catalyst for ISIS to regroup. Recent testimony by the top U.S. envoy to Syria suggests Turkey committed war crimes during the invasion and that more than 100 ISIS prisoners held by Kurdish forces have since escaped.
Cornyn — once a member of the Republican establishment — had gone all-in for Team Trump as he faces what's likely to be a tough 2020 reelection fight.
Earlier this month, Cornyn tweeted or retweeted more than 50 times over just a week to blast the U.S. House's impeachment inquiry into the president. And at the state's 2018 Republican convention, the senator reworked his 2008 "Big John" campaign video to show his allegiance to the "Big Don" now occupying the White House.
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