During a conversation with White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade launched an attack on President Donald Trump, having criticised his plan to pull out troops from Syria as "refounding" Daesh* and a "win" for Russia.
"Sarah, [Trump is] giving Russia a big win. Vladimir Putin praised him. He also is doing exactly what he criticised President Obama for doing. He said President Obama was the founder of ISIS [Daesh]. [Trump] just refounded ISIS [Daesh]! He's got 30,000 men there and they are already striking back with the evacuation. The president is really on the griddle with this", he said.
Brian Kilmeade just called out Trump to Sarah Sanders on Syria:— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) 21 December 2018
"Sarah, he's giving Russia a big win. Vladimir Putin praised him. He's also doing exactly what he criticized President Obama for doing. He said President Obama was the founder of ISIS. He just refounded ISIS." pic.twitter.com/PC48rTkQ77
Visibly stunned by the remarks, Sanders dismissed them as "outrageous":
"Brian, I have to respectfully and vehemently disagree with you. The idea that the president has had anything to do with helping ISIS [Daesh] re-emerge is absolutely outrageous. The president has put so much emphasis on rebuilding and making sure we have the strongest military on the face of the planet. If ISIS [Daesh] wants to pick a fight with someone, they sure as heck don't wanna pick one with Donald Trump, because he will destroy them and defeat them and he's made that extremely clear".
The press secretary went on to claim that the US has "wiped out" 99 percent of Daesh terrorists in Syria, and now Trump doesn't want to stay in the middle of a civil war.
The fiery exchange comes days after Trump announced the decision to bring troops back home, having uploaded a video message to his Twitter.
After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home! pic.twitter.com/xoNjFzQFTp— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 19 December 2018
The abrupt move has already triggered two resignations by high-ranking officials, including Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and special envoy for the anti-Daesh coalition Brett McGurk.
Since 2014, the US-led coalition has been conducting operations in Syria without either a UN mandate, or permission of the legitimate government — something which Damascus has consistently slammed as an illegal military presence.
*Daesh, also known as IS/ISIS/Islamic State, is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia and many other countries.