Updated: Oct 15, 2019
President Donald Trump defended his controversial decision to yank support for U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters by noting that the Kurds didn’t help the U.S. during World War II and the invasion of Normandy, known as D-day.
“Now the Kurds are fighting for their land,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
“As somebody wrote in a very powerful article today, they didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy, as an example,” the president added. “They’re there to help us with their land, and that’s a different thing.”
While the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces didn’t assist the U.S. in World War II, the Kurdish fighters have been a tremendous help to American troops fighting ISIS.
Trump didn’t provide the title of the article he referenced, though journalists noted that conservative opinion writer Kurt Schlichter recently published a column that noted the Kurd’s absence during D-day.
Trump announced Sunday that the U.S. military would stand aside as Turkey moved forward with plans to invade northern Syria rather than defend the area alongside the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces.
Defending his decision to abandon the Kurds, a major shift in U.S. policy, Trump suggested that the Kurds were only defending their land and said that the U.S. has spent “a tremendous amount of money” to help Kurdish forces.
Trump also told reporters: “With all of that being said, we like the Kurds.”
Turkey moved forward on the Kurdish forces in Syria by launching airstrikes and firing artillery on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. At least seven civilians and one Kurdish fighter were reportedly killed during the attacks.
In response to the strikes, Trump denounced Turkey’s offensive and said that the U.S. “does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea.”
Earlier this week, he threatened to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if the country took any action that was “off limits.”