Off the Rails

Episode 9: Trump's war with his generals

Illustration of President Donald Trump on a scrap of paper featuring his signature and multiple military helicopters
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Axios' "Off the Rails" series documents the end of the Trump administration, from election night 2020 through the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol.

One important piece is only now beginning to emerge: Former President Donald Trump's last-minute bid to pull U.S. forces from Afghanistan and swaths of the Middle East, Africa and even Europe ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration — and why he blinked.

John McEntee, one of Donald Trump's most-favored aides, handed retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor a piece of paper with a few notes scribbled on it. He explained: "This is what the president wants you to do."

1. Get us out of Afghanistan.

2. Get us out of Iraq and Syria.

3. Complete the withdrawal from Germany.

4. Get us out of Africa.

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