Senior South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a long-time critic of Donald Trump's foreign policy, has lashed out at acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan on the Pentagon's Syria policy. The Washington Post detailed the harsh exchange between Graham and Shanahan at the Munich Security Conference last week, which reportedly included the senator blasting the defence secretary on the US' 30 April withdrawal deadline.
"Are you telling our allies that we are going to go to zero by April 30th?" Graham reportedly asked. "Yes, that's been our direction [from the president]," Shanahan replied. "That's the dumbest f***ing idea I've ever heard," Graham responded.
"That could very well happen," Shanahan reportedly replied. "Well, if the policy is going to be that we are leaving by 30 April, I am now your adversary, not your friend," Graham retorted.
Other lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, reportedly voiced similar frustrations with Shanahan, describing him as a "deer in the headlights", and complaining that all he did was repeat the president's instructions, without elaborating.
Social media users were not amused by Senator Graham's expletive-filled rant, recalling his otherwise subservient attitude toward the president, or accusing him of being a war hawk.
It seems like Lindsey has a hissy fit nearly every day.— Skeptic (@abqralph) 20 февраля 2019 г.
That’s today… Tomorrow he’ll be right on board with it He does more flip flops than a flapjack— PEGGY (@peno5) 20 февраля 2019 г.
War hawk's gonna war hawk….— Your Mom (@YourServiceYW) 20 февраля 2019 г.
Did he happen to mention what a "win" in Syria looks like?
No, going into the Middle East all guns blazing was "the dumbest f***ing idea I've ever heard"— KarmicTimes (@KarmicTimes) 20 февраля 2019 г.
President Trump's announcement that the US would be withdrawing its forces from Syria was met with hostility among the majority of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and led to a series of high profile resignations, including Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, special anti-Daesh coalition envoy Brett McGurks, DoD spokeswoman Dana White, and Pentagon Chief of Staff Kevin Sweeney.
While agreeing with the president on most domestic issues, Senator Graham has been a longtime critic of Trump on foreign policy. In early 2017, shortly after his election, Trump lashed out at Graham and (now deceased) Senator John McCain on Twitter, advising that the pair focus "their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration and border security instead of always looking to start World War III."
*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.