The Kurds Lost Trump — but Are Winning the Battle for U.S. Public Opinion

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump suffered a very rare defeat within his own party this week. Republicans on Capitol Hill have mostly supported him throughout the endless stream of scandals and corruption allegations. But on Wednesday night, 129 of them voted alongside the Democratic majority for a House resolution denouncing Trump’s recent decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria.

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 44

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 44Haaretz

The resolution passed easily, being opposed by only 60 members of Trump’s own party. And while it has no immediate practical impact — it is not a law that puts any restraints on the White House — it shows that the president’s Syria policy could cost him support from within his own party.

Republicans in the Senate are also pushing back against Trump on the Syria issue by promoting sanctions on Turkey — in contrast to Trump’s goal of improving relations with the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said Thursday that “what we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history.”

He added: “This is a matter of American honor and promise. … The decision to abandon the Kurds violates one of our most sacred duties.”

The Republican opposition to Trump’s policy shows his decision is unpopular with at least some elements within his own party. But more than that, it is a testament to something else: the growing popularity of the Kurds in Washington — and, more broadly, within the United States.