DENVER (CBS4) – Sen. Cory Gardner says he is working with U.S. Senate colleagues to bring economic sanctions against Turkey. It comes after President Donald Trump pulled U.S. troops out of Syria and Turkey went in and bombed Kurdish forces, the same forces that have helped the U.S. fight ISIS.
Colorado’s Republican junior senator is calling on the president to reverse course and protect those who have helped protect us. He sharply condemned the president’s decision to abandon our allies, “I do think that there is a lot of explanation that we need and are owed by the administration.”
He disputed the president’s claim that the U.S. was in an “endless, senseless war… Fighting ISIS, people who wish to do great harm to the United States, is not senseless. That’s what we have to do.”
With U.S. forces gone, and Kurds under attack, Gardner says ISIS now has an opening to rebuild and it’s already moving to free thousands of militants from prisons guarded by Kurds. He suggested sanctions against Turkey are imminent.
“Our legislative options are real, there are vetoes we have to worry about, but there seems to be a uniform voice on the left and right.”
He senses the president realizes that he made a mistake, but said “That needs to be born out in action.”
In addition to national security repercussions, Gardner says the president’s decision has created a humanitarian crisis as people who helped the U.S now run for their lives.
“There are people who are fighting the right fight on their own and helping the United States and we shouldn’t let them be destroyed.”
He is concerned that other allies won’t trust the U.S. if it needs help with counter terrorism.
“You look at Ukraine and you look at the invasion of Crimea and the fact that Ukraine denuclearized and the U.S. did nothing when Russia invaded Ukraine,” he said. “You look at what happened in Libya. Libya denuclearized. It’s what North Korea has pointed to and why they’re concerned about denuclearization and now you look at this stuff with the Kurds. It is very alarming and the United States has a lot of capitol that is going to have to be rebuilt.”
Kurdish commanders tell CBS News they feel stabbed in back by America. There is fear they will now strike a deal with the Assad regime in Syria, which is backed by Russia and Iran. Gardner says it could redefine the lines in the Middle East, creating more instability and putting the U.S. and its allies at greater risk. He is urging European allies to also step in.