On Sunday, the White House reported that Turkey would invade Northern Syria, threatening the U.S. ally the Kurds. Both Republicans and Democrats have criticized the move, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who lost to Trump in 2016 and called him an “illegitimate president” earlier this month — claimed Trump violated his oath of office by not engaging militarily against Turkey.
“Let us be clear: The president has sided with authoritarian leaders of Turkey and Russia over our loyal allies and America’s own interests. His decision is a sickening betrayal both of the Kurds and his oath of office,” Clinton tweeted.
Let us be clear: The president has sided with authoritarian leaders of Turkey and Russia over our loyal allies and America’s own interests. His decision is a sickening betrayal both of the Kurds and his oath of office.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 7, 2019
Trump’s decision to pull troops back in Northern Syria does help Turkey and it may help Russia. Republicans who often defend the president against constant far-left criticism have loudly condemned this move, as it places the Kurds — a rare freedom-loving people in the Middle East — at the mercy of their Turkish enemies. The Kurds helped the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), and the U.S. helped arm them in that conflict. Trump’s decision is rightly controversial.
Withdrawing from Northern Syria is not an abandonment of Trump’s oath of office, however. The very suggestion is absurd. The president is withdrawing not because Turkey and Russia want it but because he wants to pull America out of the “endless wars” that drain American resources. He is pulling troops back for “America First” reasons.
Americans can disagree with the president’s decision, and many congressional leaders do. But to suggest that this policy decision involves an abandonment of Trump’s oath of office is beyond the pale. The president has the authority as commander in chief to order American troops as he will. Congress can declare war or pass a bill claiming the U.S. is not at war, and that would check the president’s actions. But Hillary cannot say Trump violated his “oath of office” by taking a military action she personally disagrees with. That’s just silly.
Perhaps more embarrassing for Clinton, she herself thanked Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his military intervention in Syria — in 2012 when she was secretary of State.
— Department of State (@StateDept) April 1, 2012
If Trump’s refusal to use U.S. troops to fight Turkey in 2019 is a betrayal of his oath of office, how was Clinton’s support for Turkey fighting in Syria not also a betrayal of her oath of office?
Hillary’s Trump Derangement Syndrome doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.