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A refugee camp outside of Damascus. Photo: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

Brett McGurk, the former envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition who resigned after President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from Syria, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Friday that Trump's decision is giving ISIS "new life," and that hopes for Syria "are dead."

The big picture: Trump's decision to pull troops from Syria sent shockwaves through the national security community and led to the resignation of both McGurk and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. McGurk writes that Trump's assertion that ISIS was defeated was "not true," and that his decision to leave Syria "was made without deliberation, consultation with allies or Congress, assessment of risk, or appreciation of facts."

Other highlights:

  • "I returned to Washington immediately to help mitigate the fallout from this decision, particularly among our coalition partners, all of whom we had just assured — on instructions from the White House — that we had no intent to leave Syria anytime soon. ... My counterparts in coalition capitals were bewildered. Our fighting partners in the SDF, whom I had visited regularly on the ground in Syria, expressed shock and then denial, hoping Trump would change his mind."
  • "Two days after Pompeo's call, Trump tweeted, 'We have defeated ISIS in Syria.' But that was not true. ... Days later, he claimed that Saudi Arabia had 'now agreed to spend the necessary money needed to help rebuild Syria.' But that wasn’t true, either, as the Saudis later confirmed. Trump also suggested that U.S. military forces could leave Syria within 30 days, which was logistically impossible."
  • "Our partners will stop listening and make decisions that run contrary to our interests. Our adversaries will play for time, knowing the United States is on its way out. The Islamic State and other extremist groups will fill the void opened by our departure, regenerating their capacity to threaten our friends in Europe — as they did throughout 2016 — and ultimately our own homeland."

Go deeper: The U.S. is leaving Syria, and will stay as long as it takes

Go deeper

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.

Bush labels Clyburn the “savior” for Democrats

House Majority Whip James Clyburn takes a selfie Wednesday with former President George W. Bush. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush credited Rep. James Clyburn with being the "savior" of the Democratic Party, telling the South Carolinian at Wednesday's inauguration his endorsement allowed Joe Biden to win the party's presidential nomination.

Why it matters: The nation's last two-term Republican president also said Clyburn's nod allowed for the transfer of power, because he felt only Biden had the ability to unseat President Trump.

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