Oct 16, 2019

Romney on Pence meeting with Turkey's Erdogan: "It's too late"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) attacked President Trump's decision to send a delegation to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Turkey's invasion of Syria, telling NBC reporters on Wednesday that it's "too late for this kind of conversation."

"It's very hard to understand why it is the vice president and secretary of state and others are going to talk with Erdogan and Turkey... It's like the farmer who lost all his horses and goes to now shut the barn door."

Why it matters: Romney is one of several top Republicans who have condemned Trump's original decision to move U.S. troops out of northern Syria, paving the way for Turkey to lead a military offensive against Kurdish forces that allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

  • Trump has hit Turkey with sanctions and is operating under the assumption that Erdogan's position will change if and when Turkey’s economy starts suffering, administration officials tell Axios.
  • But some allies of the president think it's too little, too late: "[Trump] will have American blood on his hands if he abandons Kurds because ISIS will come back," Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters Wednesday. "And if any American is killed anywhere because a resurgent ISIS, it will fall on Trump administration like it did Obama."

Go deeper: Turkey's Erdogan walks back refusal to meet with Pence and Pompeo

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Senators: Erdogan's White House invitation should be revoked

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Sen. Mitt Romney and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Photo: Drew Angerer/ Zach Gibson/Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) have publicly suggested that President Trump revoke his invitation to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan next month after Turkey's offensive into Syria.

The big picture: Domestic pressure is mounting against Trump following his decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria, which gave Erdogan space to invade the area. Bipartisan opposition against Trump's has been building on this issue — even pushing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to work with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to draft sanctions against Turkey's outrages in Syria and support Kurdish allies.

Go deeperArrowOct 16, 2019

Trump on Syria's Kurds: "They're not angels"

President Trump addressed Turkey's invasion of Syria in the Oval Office on Wednesday, telling reporters that the Syrian Kurds — who allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS — are "not angels," and that the Syrian government and Russia will protect them.

Go deeperArrowOct 16, 2019

Turkey's Erdogan walks back refusal to meet with Pence and Pompeo

Photo: Murat Kaynak/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Sky News Wednesday that he will not meet with Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading a delegation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Turkey to discuss a ceasefire in northern Syria.

Later, however, Erdogan's communications director walked that refusal back, tweeting that the president "does plan to meet the U.S. delegation led by [Pence] tomorrow."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 16, 2019