Menendez: Trump And Pompeo "Live In A Parallel Alternate Universe" On Syria; "All Roads Lead To Russia" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Menendez: Trump And Pompeo "Live In A Parallel Alternate Universe" On Syria; "All Roads Lead To Russia"

|

N.J. Democrat Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that "all roads lead to Russia" when it comes to the Trump administration.

"It's a betrayal of our foreign policy to the Russians, who are the big winners of this. And that's part of the problem here. All roads lead to Russia with the president. And every time that there is an issue or a conflict, it seems that Russia ends up winning," he said.





"I think the secretary lives in a parallel alternate universe," Menendez said about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, noting that the withdrawal from Syria "was a betrayal of the Kurds who fought and died alongside of us in pursuit of ending the threat of ISIS."

"Everybody in the region is recalibrating and rethinking about what their alliances should be," Menendez added. “The president unleashed this disaster [and] I think there’s going to be a real threat to the Kurds of ethnic cleansing."

STEPHANOPOULOS: We are back with the response to Secretary Pompeo from the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez. Senator, welcome.

You just heard the secretary of state. He said that our goals in the Middle East are still being served, we are still countering ISIS, we are still countering Iranians, he said, that, since the president's pullout, stability in the Middle East has increased.

Your response?

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Well, I think the secretary lives in a parallel alternate universe.

What -- what the president did is a betrayal of the Kurds, who fought and died alongside of us in pursuit of ending the threat of ISIS. It's a betrayal of our ally, the state of Israel, where, in fact, Iran now has an easier facility to have its land bridge with sophisticated weapons -- weapons to try to attack Israel.

It's a betrayal of our foreign policy to the Russians, who are the big winners of this. And that's part of the problem here. All roads lead to Russia with the president. And every time that there is an issue or a conflict, it seems that Russia ends up winning.

And so I see it totally different. I was at that White House meeting. And I have to tell you, when the president of the United States said that we shouldn't worry about 7,000 miles away and those terrorists there, well, on September 11, they traveled over 7,000 miles and ultimately did the worst attack in our nation's history.

So, there's no guarantees that the administration has as it relates to the reconfiguration of ISIS and the 10,000 ISIS fighters that the Kurds were detaining. There's no guarantees from Iran that they won't build their land bridge and threaten Israel.

There's no guarantees about our interests. And, in fact, Russia not only is going to have a major say about the future of Syria. Everybody in the region is recalibrating and rethinking about what their alliances should be.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, the question is, what can be done at this point?

Senator McConnell, the Republican leader, said that the United States should prepare for the reintroduction of troops. President Trump seems not interested in that at all.

I know you have been working on a possible resolution condemning the president's action. Any progress there, or do you expect that that will be held up in the Senate, even though one has passed the House?

MENENDEZ: Well, first of all, you know, the president unleashed this disaster, and I think that there's going to be a real threat to the Kurds of ethnic cleansing.

In terms of the Congress pushing back, the resolution that I sponsored with Senator Young in the Senate, a bipartisan resolution, is the same that the House passed 354-60 condemning the president's actions and calling upon a change of course.

And, secondly, I have legislation with Senator Risch, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to do a series of things. Part of it is to sanction Turkey, also sanction Russia, also ask for a complete ISIS strategy as to how we finalize defeating ISIS, because the Department of Defense inspector general tells us there are still 18,000 ISIS fighters in Syria.

If the 10,000 that have been detained by the Kurds get released, that's a potential fighting force of hardened fighters of 30,000. To me, that's a clear and present danger to the United States and its security and interests.

So, our legislation would try to have a comprehensive approach and also to seek to provide some humanitarian and other assistance to the Kurds.

And we need to do this, because, if we send a global message, George, that, in fact, we will abandon those who have fought alongside with us, then others in the world, when we are asking them to fight with us or for us, will say, why should I do that, when you're -- when you're finished using me, you're going to let me die on the battlefield?

Comment
Show comments Hide Comments

Latest Political Videos

Video Archives