Turkey launches offensive against Kurds in Syria, Trump calls it a ‘bad idea’
By morgan winsor, ben gittleson and jordyn phelps
President Donald Trump on Wednesday called Turkey’s offensive in Syria “a bad idea” that the United States did not support, hours after Turkey launched a long-planned military offensive in northeastern that targeted U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds.
“The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” Trump said in a statement aimed at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Speaking to reporters at the White House hours later, Trump said the U.S. had been “speaking to both sides.” At the same time he appeared resigned to the fighting.
“We’ve told President Erdogan how we feel … we’re seeing what can be made out of situation,” he said.
“I have gotten him to stop from virtually the first day I was in office, but they wanted to fight and that’s the way it is. And they’ve done it for so long,” Trump said.
Asked whether he was concerned that Erdogan would “wipe out the Kurds” — who have helped the U.S. fight ISIS in Syria — Trump repeated a threat made earlier this week.
“I will wipe out his economy if that happens,” Trump said. “I’ve already done it once.” Referring to the Turkish offensive, Trump said, “if he doesn’t to it in as humane a way as possible,” he would do something “much worse than sanctions” that some in Congress have proposed. “We will have to define that as we go along.”