President Trump’s threats to pull out of Afghanistan. Trump’s threatening his people of Jerusalem. Trump’s deadly attack on Syria. And now Trump’s threats to pull out of Syria.
As he wrote: “After many years of enduring American sacrifice, it is time to start bringing our troops home. We have won against ISIS, but the Syrian campaign is not over.”
Some of these tweets generated media attention in recent weeks. But Trump’s tweets during the last few days on Syria have caught the Pentagon by surprise and unsettled officials. After all, they were his more substantial statement on Syria that came after he agreed to stay in Syria for the foreseeable future.
The tweeting has been a powerful tool for Trump, who frequently sounds off from the White House Oval Office. But the speed and breadth of his recent statements have caught the Pentagon by surprise. The latest set of tweets have raised the fear in the Pentagon that Trump’s instincts are out of step with his generals and national security officials.
Trump’s refusal to disclose his plans for Syria marks a striking break from his predecessor, Barack Obama, who in 2011 asked Congress to authorize the war against ISIS. Obama had no problem proclaiming his objectives, showing the strategy was working and seeking further backing from Congress. Trump’s distancing from Congress over Syria has raised fears within the White House that he would follow in Obama’s footsteps and cede control to those who suggest withdrawing.