Congressional leaders have voiced their displeasure with President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cautioned against a “precipitous withdrawal” of troops from both countries.
Republicans and Democrats, by a vote of 68-23, backed a McConnell amendment to a Middle East policy bill. The amendment recognizes the dangers of pulling troops prematurely from longstanding conflicts overseas.
“While it is tempting to retreat to the comfort and security of our own shores, there is a great deal of work to be done,” he said before the vote. “We’re not the world’s policemen, but we are the leaders of the free world.”
Other legislation, introduced by a bipartisan group of House lawmakers, would stall any plans to withdraw troops from Syria and South Korea by limiting funds that can be used to pull troops from those countries.
Trump defended his plans for Syria and Afghanistan on Twitter and while appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation over the weekend.
The president said he inherited “a total mess in Syria and Afghanistan,” and cited the billions of dollars the country spends each year on the conflicts.
On CBS, Trump repeated plans to get out of the wars and remove troops from the region.
"When I took over Syria it was infested with ISIS. It was all over the place," he said. "And now you have very little ISIS and you have the caliphate almost knocked out."
A Republican lawmaker later said Trump’s planned withdrawal would be “tragic.”
“ISIS was able to rise from the thoroughly defeated ashes of al-Qaida in Iraq, and I don’t want to be making the same statement six months from now that we bugged out of Syria unwisely and that ISIS has re-emerged from the defeated ashes of ISIS in Syria,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
Johnson’s remarks came on Fox News Sunday.