Also on Wednesday, when he sent his Vice President and Secretary of State to Turkey to negotiate a ceasefire, Trump knelt down his bargaining power by publicly stating that the area in question had "nothing to do with us".
In front of the room, an ally of Trump predicted that the foreign policy debacle could cause internal damage.
Nora Bensahel, visiting professor of strategic studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said that "the strategic implications are so clear and so damaging to US security interests that there is no strategic advantage to this decision."
The President has tried to deal with the consequences and announced Tuesday that Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would travel to Turkey to insist on a ceasefire. It became clear, however, that Republicans like Graham would not see their desired course correction.
Pompeo told Fox Business News on Wednesday that he and Pence must "lead this conversation directly with [Erdogan] … he must stop the invasion of Syria."
Just a few hours later, Trump declared, "If Turkey enters Syria, that's between Turkey and Syria, that's not our problem."
The president "undercuts" Pence and Pompeo completely, Graham said on Twitter.
"I had the feeling that we had started a plan that would probably work if Pompeo and Pence would send a message to Turkey," Graham later said Suzanne Malveaux of CNN. "He needs to restore her ability to stop the bloodshed."
Trump intervened on Wednesday, repeating statements that ignored facts or opinions that contradicted his narrative – even contradictory statements he himself had made days before.
The goal in this case, according to analysts, is Trump's political agenda, not US national security.
"Not in danger"
"He did so mainly for domestic policy reasons," Miller said, pointing to the president's election promises to bring troops home. Wednesday's Trump's series of false statements is "part of his effort to create an alternate reality, insisting that the people who count in his eyes – his base – believe it when he does enough." 19659010] Trump told the Oval Office that US troops are "not in danger" as Turkey advances into northeastern Syria.
"That's definitely not true," Bensahel said. Pentagon sources confirm this on the grounds that the troops are in a high-risk situation and that the Ministry of Defense currently has the primary task of ensuring that they are safely removed.
Hundreds of troops remain in the area and "can not be withdrawn immediately," Bensahel said. "They are at risk from Turkey-backed forces in the region, and if the Turkish forces enter Syrian territory, there is a danger for US personnel to be caught in the middle."
Trump also said he was bringing these troops home. Two days ago, he made a statement that these troops would be transferred to other parts of the Middle East and many would move to Iraq.
In an affirmative statement, Trump said that "the Kurds are now much safer," adding that "they are not angels" during an Oval Office meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
CNN reporter Arwa Damon on the Turkish-Syrian border and Nick Paton Walsh in Erbil, Iraq, have reported fatalities as the clashes in the Turkish "Operation Peace Spring" continue. Aid organizations describe the Kurdish men, women and children fleeing Turkish forces as a humanitarian disaster.
"I do not know in which parallel alternate universe the President operates," said Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey. "The Kurds are not safer."
Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, responded to the delicate question of honor that causes much military anger over the president's decision.
"I'm in the Force Committee and know what our military leaders think about it," Kaine said. "They are just ashamed that the US would give up an ally on the battlefield … This totally contradicts the ethos that you will not leave a colleague on the battlefield."
Trump also stated that the fighting in Syria has done "nothing that has anything to do with us".
"It is so," countered Bensahel, "that the United States is a destination of the Islamic State and our close allies a destination of the Islamic State."
The US went to Syria "to help local armed forces create some kind of security in the region, allegedly because of the threat posed by the Islamic State, which had been operating freely in the region before the United States' entry."
For the Italian president with Trump in the White House on Wednesday, the threat is not abstract. An ISIS sympathizer attacked a soldier at Milan Central Station in May 2017. Mattarella said his country was deeply concerned about the Turkish invasion as it offered ISIS a chance to grow.
Sen. Diane Feinstein, a Californian Democrat, pointed out the risk that thousands of ISIS fighters detained by the Kurds could be released "to return to combat and carry out terrorist attacks overseas."
Ryan Browne of CNN, Barbara Starr, Suzanne Malveaux, Sarah Westwood, Maegan Vazquez, Nikki Carvajal, Ted Barrett, Manu Raju, Arwa Damon and Nick Paton Walsh contributed to this report