Washington Free Beacon founding editor Matthew Continetti on Friday said that former secretary of defense James Mattis's resignation gave Turkey the "green light" for its offensive against the Kurds in Syria.
Continetti told MSNBC's Meet the Press Daily that the firing demonstrated that the White House does not view America's presence in the Middle East as an asset, leaving Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan free to "call the United States' bluff."
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"The sense that the president's heart is not in staying in Syria, and of course he's said that multiple times," Continetti said. "That probably led Erdoğan to say, ‘you know what? I can call the United States' bluff in Syria,' and he did."
Continetti noted that Mattis resigned in December 2018 over Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria, a move that drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. U.S. servicemen vacated Syria in early October, leaving the region undefended against Turkish forces and the terrorist group ISIS.
Mattis, a vocal opponent of Trump's Syria policy, leveled criticism at the president on Thursday. The retired general joked that Trump's taunt that he was "overrated" made Mattis the "Meryl Streep of generals," in reference to another person Trump has called overrated.