Despite the White House’s spin, it’s clear that Trump has failed to protect American troops by repeatedly caving to Russia and allowing the Kremlin to expand its footprint in the Middle East. For years, Trump has given Russia exactly what it wanted in the Middle East. And now we’ve learned that after Russia offered Taliban-linked militants bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Trump did nothing to stop it or punish Russia for its actions.
At today’s White House press briefing, McEnany lied about Trump’s failure to support our troops or stand up to Russia.
MCENANY: “There’s no stronger advocate for our service men and women than President Trump.”
MCENANY: “This president has been extremely strong on Russia.”
In reality, Trump caved to Russia repeatedly in his Middle East policy, and now American service members are believed to have been killed as a result of Russian-paid bounties.
Washington Post: “Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.”
Trump already gave Russia what it wanted with his abrupt withdrawal from Syria, escalation of tensions with Iran, and election-driven withdrawal from Afghanistan.
New York Times: “In Syria, Russia Is Pleased to Fill an American Void”
Washington Post: “Russia stands to benefit as Middle East tensions spike after Soleimani killing”
Foreign Policy: “Observers worry that if [the] United States pulls out of Afghanistan without cementing a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government, Moscow’s outsize influence will strengthen the Taliban’s hand.”
As president, Trump encouraged Russia to assert itself in Afghanistan and the Middle East, at the expense of U.S. influence in the region.
TRUMP: “Russia should be fighting. The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there… But why isn’t Russia there?”
TRUMP: “Do we want to stay there for another 19 years? I don’t think so. So at a certain point, other countries—and that includes Russia and it includes Iran and Turkey and Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and India… ‘All right, maybe we go home now. Let these other countries handle it.’”
TRUMP: “Syria has a relationship with the Kurds. So they’ll come in for their border, and they’ll fight. They may bring partners in. They could bring Russia in. And I say, ‘Welcome to it.’
Instead of standing up to Putin, Trump repeated Russian propaganda calling this past weekend’s reports “fake news.”
Russian Embassy: “We have paid attention to another piece of fake news, launched in the media space by the #US intelligence community.”
TRUMP: “Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News @nytimes.”
Trump and the White House are now casting doubt on the intelligence, which American officials already briefed our allies on.
New York Times: “In addition to saying he was never ‘briefed or told’ about the intelligence report — a formulation that went beyond the White House denial of any formal briefing — Mr. Trump also cast doubt on the assessment’s credibility, which statements from his subordinates had not.”
New York Times: “They said the intelligence had been treated as a closely held secret, but the administration expanded briefings about it this week — including sharing information about it with the British government, whose forces are among those said to have been targeted.”
MCENANY: “There is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations and in effect there are dissenting opinions from some in the intelligence community with regards to the veracity of what’s being reported.”
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