When President Trump announced that he no longer wanted to maintain a military presence in Syria, the decision was met with swift criticisms. Defense Secretary James Mattis and U.S. envoy in the coalition against ISIS Brett McGurk resigned as a result of the decisions.
Despite the backlash, Office of Management and Budget Director and incoming Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said President Trump is committed to ending the engagement and bring the troops home.
“Is there any chance the president changes his mind about this and reverses course?” ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked Mulvaney during an interview on Sunday, as ABC News reports.
“No, I think the president has told people from the very beginning that he doesn’t want us to stay in Syria forever. You’re seeing the end result now of two years worth of work,” Mulvaney answered.
President Trump initially announced his decision to leave Syria in a tweet in which he said defeating ISIS was his only reason to be in the country.
“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” Trump tweeted.
“I won an election, said to be one of the greatest of all time, based on getting out of endless & costly foreign wars & also based on Strong Borders which will keep our Country safe,” the president added in a social media post on Saturday. “We fight for the borders of other countries, but we won’t fight for the borders of our own!”
“So hard to believe that Lindsey Graham would be against saving soldier lives & billions of $$$” Trump continued. “Why are we fighting for our enemy, Syria, by staying & killing ISIS for them, Russia, Iran & other locals? Time to focus on our Country & bring our youth back home where they belong!”
And, “If anybody but your favorite President, Donald J. Trump, announced that, after decimating ISIS in Syria, we were going to bring our troops back home (happy & healthy), that person would be the most popular hero in America. With me, hit hard instead by the Fake News Media. Crazy!”
“I just had a long and productive call with President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey. We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area. After many years they are coming home. We also discussed heavily expanded Trade.”
Following Mattis’ resignation, President Trump named Patrick Shanahan to be the Acting Secretary of Defense.
Shanahan, who is currently Deputy Defense Secretary, will be replacing Defense Secretary James Mattis who recently resigned. As Politico reports, he is a former Boeing executive and “vocal proponent of the president’s push to establish a new branch of the armed services, the so-called Space Force.”
“I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019,” Trump announced in a tweet on Sunday. “Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing.”
“He will be great!” the president added, speaking of Shanahan.