WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is re-evaluating a rapid pullout of U.S. troops from Syria but remains committed to pursuing the withdrawal he announced earlier this month, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday after a White House meeting.
“I think we’re slowing things down in a smart way,” said Graham, R-S.C. “But the goal has always been the same: To be able to leave Syria, to make sure ISIS never comes back, our partners are taken care of and Iran’s contained.”
The president’s decision earlier this month marked an abrupt shift in U.S. Middle East policy and helped prompt the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis amid broad concerns in Washington a withdrawal could squander gains made by U.S. allied forces and allow Islamic State militants to regain a foothold in the country. Critics have warned the exit of more than 2,000 U.S. forces could also bolster Iran’s power and fuel worries about U.S. commitment among other allies around the world.
Graham, an outspoken critic of Trump’s Syria decision despite being one of the president’s closest allies in Congress, said he felt better about the White House’s new Syria policy after his lunch and discussions with top military officials.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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