When asked by reporters whether he was concerned that Islamic State fighters would be able to escape from prison because of Turkey’s ongoing military operation, Trump flippantly predicted that the militants would escape to Europe, not the U.S.
“What if ISIS fighters escape and pose a threat elsewhere?” a White House reporter asked the president Wednesday afternoon.
“Well they are going to be escaping to Europe, that’s where they want to go,” Trump said.
“They want to go back to their homes. But Europe didn’t want them for months. They could have had trials, they could have done whatever they wanted, but as usual, it’s not reciprocal,” Trump added.
He continued: “When President Obama took the PKK, that’s a tough deal because that’s been a mortal enemy of Turkey. And so when you bring them into a partnership, it’s a tough situation. … They’ve hated each other for many, many years.”
President Trump says he will "wipe out" Turkey's economy if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tries to take out the Kurds in northern Syria: "I hope that he will act rationally" https://t.co/1ftZN3y51Y pic.twitter.com/OAkuAlsYc4
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 9, 2019
Trump also dismissed criticism from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (S.C.), one of his closest congressional allies, over his decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria.
“I think Lindsey would like to stay there for the next 200 years,” Trump said.
Graham warned on Wednesday that unless Trump reverses course, his decision to remove U.S. troops from the region “will be the biggest mistake of his presidency.”
“I know that every military person has told him don’t do this. …So if he follows through with this, it’d be the biggest mistake of his presidency,” Graham said on Fox News.