Democratic Presidential Debate: Candidates Attack Trump’s Syria Withdrawal, Betrayal of Kurds

WASHINGTON – Several Democratic presidential candidates attacked President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria during a televised debate on Tuesday night. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a centrist candidate, invoked Israel into the discussion by saying: "Think about our ally Israel, what do they think now?"           

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While the different candidates criticized Trump’s decision, the contents of their criticism and their own suggestions regarding Mideast policy, showed the clear difference between the party’s centrist candidates, such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Amy Klobuchar, and those more on the left such as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

The discussion over Syria was a short part of the three-hour long debate, which featured 12 candidates on one stage. Klobuchar attacked Trump for abandoning America's Kurdish allies in Syria, and warned of the implications this would have on other U.S. allies in the Middle East. "Donald Trump is not true to our allies," she said. Klobuchar also called Israel "a beacon of democracy" in the region.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has been rising in the polls recently and is either first or second in most polls published since the summer, also attacked Trump – but at the same time, she clarified that she would also withdraw American forces from Syria and other parts of the Middle East. At some point Warren said "I don't think we should have troops in the Middle East," a position that goes even beyond Trump's withdrawal, if implemented.

Warren said, however, that "we need to do it the right way, the smart way," unlike how Trump has managed the Syria withdrawal over the past week. Warren also accused Trump of "sucking up to dictators," and betraying American allies.