"Chaos reigns with this president," according to Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono. In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper Monday afternoon, Hirono said she has "a lot of questions" about the president's claim that U.S. troops will be leaving Syria "like, very soon."
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D), HAWAII: Aloha.
TAPPER: What do you think, should President Trump pull U.S. troops out of Syria?
HIRONO: This is yet another example of the president's incoherence and it's clear that he thrives in chaos. We haven't heard from General Dunford. We haven't heard from General Mattis yet. This is -- this is really on a par with the kind of incoherence that the president exemplifies on a daily basis, and I think in this instance, he's again reacting to what's happening with the Mueller investigation that threatens to close in on him and his associates every day.
TAPPER: Well, what do you think should be done? Should the U.S. pull out of Syria? Or do you think that the U.S. troops need to stay there at least until the Pentagon feels ISIS has been defeated?
HIRONO: I have a lot of questions about Syria in terms of, what does winning against ISIS mean? What are we going to leave Syria to if we exit?
And, yes, I agree with your prior commentator that Russia and Iran benefit from the situation. How does that help our country, et cetera? So there are a lot of unanswered questions about what pulling out of Syria soon means.
And that's probably why we haven't heard from people like General Mattis, our secretary of defense.
TAPPER: You're on the Senate Armed Services Committee. What kind of briefings has the White House and the administration given you on President Trump's plans on Syria?
HIRONO: He hasn't given us any briefings or anything that comes from any thought process that he's engaged in. And this is a surprise utterance from him yet again.
And so what we have heard were things like General Mattis back in November saying that we need to provide a diplomatic route to stability in that part of the world, in Syria. Same thing echoed by Secretary Tillerson, who is out.
And so here comes to president, as you noted, that at a time when the Department of Defense is prepared to send dozens more of our military people to Syria, that he comes out with this. And it has taken everyone by surprise. Again, chaos reigns with this president.
TAPPER: I just remember a lot of Republicans being very critical of President Obama when he announced a date certain to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
TAPPER: And the argument was, well, all the enemy has to do is just wait out President Obama, and then they can start taking over again.
TAPPER: Obviously, ultimately, President Obama left troops in Afghanistan, around 9,000 or 10,000.
Do you have those same concerns about this announcement by President Trump?
HIRONO: I know that this announcement was yet again shoot from the hip.
And in the Middle East, that's very dangerous to shoot from the hip, going in, coming out. We need to be very clear about what our goals are. And we haven't gotten that from this administration, nor this president.
So, what does winning look like? What does leaving Syria look like? The entire Middle East is very complicated. And we should understood what is going to happen, what the consequences may be before we shoot from the hip.
And unlike the president, the rest of us do not shoot from the hip. That would be totally irresponsible, and it would not support our national security interests at all, in my view.