September 19, 2021

‘Don’t be a tough guy!’ What Donald Trump wrote to Turkey’s president while Syria invasion began

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‘Don’t be a tough guy, don’t be a fool!’ Revealed: Donald Trump’s extraordinary letter to Turkey’s president after Syria invasion

  • White House releases letter Trump sent Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 9 – before Turkey began invasion of northern Syria
  •  ‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!’ he wrote. ‘I will call you later.’
  •  Trump told reporters during a press conference Wednesday that he hadn’t given Erdogan ‘a green light’ to invade
  • He claimed releasing ‘a very powerful letter’ would dispel misconceptions about the impact of his troop withdrawal from Syria days before he wrote it
  • Letter was released to Fox Business Network’s Trish Reagan and rapidly confirmed by the White House amid questions over whether it was genuine
  • Extraordinary letter came as Nancy Pelosi asked for prayer’s for president’s health after ‘serious meltdown’ during meeting about Syrian crisis  

By David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor For Dailymail.com

Published: 17:06 EDT, 16 October 2019 | Updated: 14:50 EDT, 17 October 2019

President Donald Trump tried to cajole Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Turkish counterpart, into negotiating with Syrian Kurds instead of invading, a letter released by the White House reveals.

‘History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen,’ the president wrote on October 9, as Erdogan’s forces prepared to cross into Syria.

‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!’ he wrote. ‘I will call you later.’

Trump told reporters during a press conference Wednesday that he hadn’t given Erdogan ‘a green light’ to invade, and claimed releasing ‘a very powerful letter’ would dispel misconceptions about the impact of his troop withdrawal from Syria days before he wrote it.

‘If anybody saw the letter, which can be released very easily if you’d like – I could certainly release it,’ he said.

‘But I wrote a letter right after that conversation – a very powerful letter. There was never given a green light.’

The letter was initially leaked to Trish Regan, an evening anchor on the Fox Business Network, then confirmed by the White House as being genuine amid questions online over whether it was a parody. 

Correspondence: The letter reveals how Trump asked Erdogan not to invade northern Syria

The letter appears to support the president’s contention that he didn’t give Erdogan his approval for the military campaign.

‘Let’s work out a good deal!’ he wrote. ‘You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy—and I will.’

Trump promised new concessions from Mazloum Kobani, commander of the Kurdish army known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

‘General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past,’ he wrote. ‘I am confidently enclosing a copy of his letter to me, just received.’

The U.S. has funded and trained Mazloum’s forces for at least five years. The SDF was America’s main proxy fighting the ISIS terror army in Syria.

The president has struggled to sidestep blame for the bloodshed that followed his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.

‘Maybe they’re going to fight it out,’ he said of Syria and Turkey, ‘but our men aren’t going to get killed over it.’

‘And just one other thing,’ he added. ‘They’ve been fighting for hundreds of years. This has been going on for hundreds of years.’

Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to disentangle America’s military from what he called ‘forever wars’ – longstanding conflicts that the Pentagon has stabilized, often with thousands, or tens of thousands, of servicemen and women.

Name-checked: Mazloum Kobani, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces was a key U.S. ally until earlier this month when Trump ordered a U.S. troop pullout. In the letter Trump claimed the commander would offer Erdogan unprecedented concessions 

War: Turkish residents stood overlooking the Syrian border and the town of Ras al-Ein which is under attack by the Turkish military 

He said Wednesday that the initial pullback from Syria only affected 28 military personnel, but another 1,000 stationed further to the south and east will be moved out of Syria entirely.

Trump’s allies, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, have turned on him. Graham pledged to become his ‘worst nightmare’ for abandoning the Kurds to Erdogan’s whims.

Trump responded by claiming the Kurds are not ‘angels.’

A bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to condemn the president’s troop-withdrawal decision.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said hours later that they walked out of a meeting with Trump at the White House when he berated them for their views on Syria.

Pelosi said she witnessed a ‘meltdown,’ with Trump telling her some ISIS fighters were communists, and ‘that must make you happy.’

She later urged prayers for his health. 

The White House said in a statement that ‘[t]he President was measured, factual and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi’s decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising.’

The statement claimed Pelosi ‘chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine.’         

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