In a blistering speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) again condemned President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria and attacked him for portraying the temporary ceasefire announced with Turkey as a victory.

"The decision to abandon the Kurds violates one of our most sacred duties. It strikes at American honor. What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a blood stain in the annals of American history. There are broad strategic implications of our decision as well. Iranian and Russian interests in the Middle East have been advanced by our decision. At a time when we're applying maximum pressure on Iran by giving them a stronger hand in Syria, we've actually weakened that pressure. Russia's objective to play a greater role in the Middle East has also been greatly enhanced. The Kurds, out of desperation, have now aligned with [Syrian President] Assad."

Why it matters: Trump's expectation that Republicans would reverse their criticism of his Syria policy after Vice President Mike Pence struck a ceasefire with Turkey appears to have fallen short. The agreement — which Turkey insists is not actually a ceasefire — will force U.S.-allied Kurdish forces to evacuate the area that Turkey is conducting its military operation within 120 hours (five days).

  • Romney and many experts have argued that this gives Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan exactly what he wanted, but Trump has nonetheless touted it as a great success for all players involved.

Go deeper: Pence announces Turkey has agreed to temporary ceasefire in Syria

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8 hours ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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