MSNBC host comes to Trump's defence over his decision to pull US troops out of Syria

MSNBCMSNBC host Chris Matthews.
  • MSNBC host Chris Matthews slammed critics of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US ground forces from Syria within 30 days.
  • Matthews described them as “the country’s brigade of armchair hawks,” who he alleged promoted military interventions in the Middle East or “wherever they can find a broadcastable case.”
  • Matthews’ monologue came hours before a stark warning from a group of top Republicans who claimed that the proposed withdrawal was a “premature and costly mistake.”
  • “Trump ran against stupid wars,” Matthews said, accusing people who are criticising Trump over the pullout decision of cheering on such wars in the first place.

MSNBC host Chris Matthews slammed critics of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US ground forces from Syria within 30 days, shortly after lawmakers and foreign-policy experts expressed concerns.

Matthews described Trump’s critics as “the country’s brigade of armchair hawks,” who he alleged promoted military interventions in the Middle East or “wherever they can find a broadcastable case.”

“The timing of the withdrawal from Syria should be subject to on-the-ground factors, but one easily gets the idea that the proponents for an extended US stay will not accept any deadline,” Matthews said on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”

“They want us there permanently, part of a continued garrison American military power in the [Middle East]. That’s what they wanted long before 9/11.”

Read more: Top Republicans are revolting against Trump’s move to pull US troops out of Syria

Dick CheneyUS National ArchivesFormer Vice President Dick Cheney.

Matthews referred to Vice President Dick Cheney, whose initial support for the war in Iraq was widely condemned, and likened critics of the withdrawal to “the clique of Cheney.”

“It remains an historic fact that it’s easier to bring military power into an area than it is to remove it,” Matthews said. “We’ve seen this is in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and now in Syria.”

“What is undeniable is the predictable outrage of those who were so wrong about Iraq and are so ready to be wrong about Syria,” he added.

Trump announced his decision on Wednesday to withdraw US ground forces from Syria – a move that appeared to take many Republicans by surprise – citing the supposed defeat of ISIS militants in the country.

Matthews’ monologue came hours before a stark warning from a group of top Republicans who claimed that the withdrawal was a “premature and costly mistake.” Among others, senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas signed a letter condemning the decision and urged Trump to reconsider on Wednesday.

“While you believe the threat of ISIS has dissipated, the conditions on the ground paint a very different picture,” the letter said.

Matthews pointed to Trump’s campaign statements advocating for a withdrawal in Syria, and asked whether people who objected to the latest decision would have supported military operations in Syria from the onset in 2014.

“Trump ran against stupid wars,” Matthews said, accusing people who are criticising Trump over the pullout decision of cheering on such wars in the first place.

Some Democrats voiced their agreement with Trump’s decision and supported the withdrawal.

“I served on active duty and know we have an awesome military,” Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu said on Twitter. “But the first rule for the Commander in Chief is that he should never send troops to a war zone without Congressional authorization and without a strategy. [Donald Trump] is right to withdraw our troops.”

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