Trump lickspittle Sen. Lindsey Graham didn't take too kindly to CNN's Dana Bash pointing out to him that President Obama was honoring the Bush administration's Status of Forces Agreement on troop withdrawal from Iraq while he was trying to blame the formation of ISIS on Trump's predecessor, rather than George W. Bush for going in there and blowing up the entire region to begin with.
Graham also insisted he's going to be able to convince Trump keep troops in Syria, despite Trump's demand that they leave the country immediately.
Transcript via CNN:
BASH: Senator, let's talk about foreign policy and President Trump's decision to pull American troops out of Syria...
BASH: ... half of the U.S. troops of Afghanistan, a place you just returned from.
You have said this could pave the way for a second 9/11 in the U.S.
BASH: If ISIS reconstitutes itself after the U.S. leaves, does President Trump bear responsibility?
GRAHAM: Well, number one, everything we're dealing -- we're dealing with today falls on Obama's watch. He's the one that withdrew from Iraq.
In 2011, October the 21st, I said, I hope...
BASH: But he did it because there was a status of forces agreement with Iraq, right?
GRAHAM: Listen -- well, no, that's a bunch of bullshit. Pardon my French.
That's a complete lie.
BASH: Why? That didn't happen?
GRAHAM: That's a complete, absolute lie.
I have been there. Yes, I was there talking to the prime minister of Iraq. And he said, how many soldiers you're talking about?
Obama wanted to get to zero. He got to zero. And 20 -- October, the 21st, 2011, I said, I hope the president's right and I'm wrong, but I fear this decision will come back to haunt us.
ISIS came about as a result of our withdrawal from Iraq. The caliphate was established in Syria because Obama sat on the sidelines and watched the place be dismembered.
BASH: Let's focus on now, because now President Trump is in the White House.↓ Story continues below ↓
GRAHAM: Yes, let's focus on now.
BASH: Go for it.
GRAHAM: OK, now, he was dealt a bad hand by Obama, and he needs to play it better than he's playing it.
Keeping the troops in Iraq is great. Right now, after having been back from Afghanistan, I can tell you that ISIS is on the rise in Afghanistan. But if Pakistan would help us, we could get Taliban to the table and end the war in Afghanistan. Our presence then would be focused on counterterrorism, ISIS.
As to Syria, there are three things important this country. Number one, make sure that ISIS never comes back in Syria. That's why we need to keep some of our troops there. They're inside the 10-yard line in defeating ISIS. But we're not there yet.
If we leave now, the Kurds are going to get slaughtered.
BASH: How are you going to convince President Trump of that?
GRAHAM: I'm going to talk to him at lunch.
He has talked to General Dunford. I got a call from General Dunford. The president is reconsidering how we do this. He's frustrated. I get it. People should pay more. They should fight more.
But we're not the policemen of the world here. We're fighting a war against ISIS. They're still not defeated in Syria. I'm asking the president to make sure that we have troops there to protect us. Don't outsource our national security to some foreign power.
If we leave now, the Kurds will get in a fight with Turkey. They could get slaughtered. Who would help you in the future? And if we leave now, there will be a land bridge from Tehran to Beirut in terms of supplying weapons against Israel.
BASH: And this is something you're going to tell the president at lunch today?
I'm going to ask the president to do something President Obama would never do: Reconsider. This is being done by President Trump against sound military advice. The president is -- went to Iraq. Thank you very much for going.
I'm going to ask him to sit down with his generals and reconsider how to do this. Slow this down. Make sure that we get it right. Make sure ISIS never comes back. Don't turn Syria over to the Iranians. That's a nightmare for Israel.
And, at the end of the day, if we leave the Kurds and abandon them and they get slaughtered, who's going to help you in the future? I want to fight the war in the enemy's backyard, not ours. That's why we need a forward-deployed force in Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan for a while to come.
Here's the good news. If we play our cards right, we can reduce our footprint in all three countries. Have more -- have people do more and pay more is a goal I share with the president.
Trump didn't want to listen to his own Defense Secretary on Syria. We'll see if Graham has any more luck.