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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

Go deeper

30 mins ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.