To say President Trump gave Turkey the green light to root out the Kurds in Syria with the withdrawal of troops is a mischaracterization, Rep. Tom Reed said Thursday.
Reed said Trump made a commitment to withdraw U.S. troops from the Mideast. Trump generally stood with not putting troops in harm’s way, the Republican congressman said, something he and most Americans support.
“If we are going to stay in Syria … I need to see a clear mission,” Reed said. “I believe pulling back is a good policy.”
He said there was some merit for criticism as to how this has been rolled out and failure to communicate with allies.
“We are going to watch this very closely,” Reed told reporters during his weekly press call.
Television news reports Thursday showed Turkish airstrikes, shelling and cross-border attacks on Syrian villages that are homes to the Kurds.
Specifically, Reed said he would be watching where Turkey stops in its advance and where the boundaries are re-established. Turkey has talked about creating a 30-kilometer buffer zone (about 18.6 miles) along its border with Syria, he added.
Reed said he took offense over political leaders on both sides “rushing before television cameras” to decry the U.S. forsaking its Kurdish allies. “Congress needs to do its job. If they feel it is important, get a bill.”
Reed said he has communicated with the White House and with political leaders in the House and Senate. If they are going to bash the president, they should unite and issue a joint statement on what our position is on Syria, the Corning Republican said.
Reed said he is concerned about the status of the 12,000 ISIS prisoners being held by the Kurds in Syria.
U.S. troops in the region “could be redeployed to make sure the threat remains contained as opposed to being released into the region.”
Reed, who returned Tuesday from a three-day diplomatic trip to Poland, said the House impeachment inquiry “is the topic of the day” in the Capitol. He declined to share any of his personal conversations with colleagues or the White House.
Sparking the impeachment talk is a July telephone conversation Trump had with the new Ukranian president in which he appears to tie $375 million in military aid to the Ukranians digging up dirt on Trump political rival Joe Biden.
Despite a transcript of the conversation provided by the White House, and a whistleblower’s account, Reed said, “I don’t see that smoking gun evidence for impeachment.”
He added that the issue “is more suited to an oversight procedure, not the removal of a president. The Democrats are on the wrong path.”
House Democrats “seem to be shutting Republicans out of the due process. The minority party does not have voice in the process including issuing subpoenas and interviewing witnesses.”
What do Reed’s constituents think about the impeachment inquiry?
“What I generally hear is, ‘What a circus,’ ‘What an unbelievable way to govern a country,’ and, ‘Will you guys stop playing partisan politics and solve problems back home?’” Reed replied.
The impeachment and removal of the president does nothing to “save the family farm” or lower prescription drug prices, Reed said.
The 23rd District congressman said his office stands ready to aid any residents of the 27th District, where Rep. Chris Collins resigned last week before pleading guilty to insider trading charges.
The House Clerk’s Office is keeping the 27th Congressional District offices open until a new congressman can be elected in a special election next year.
Regarding his Poland trip to discuss U.S. and Polish business investment, Reed said in a press release that Western New York has a rich Polish heritage and he was proud to meet with the Polish prime minister and president.
“Poland also recently agreed to purchase F-35 fighter jets – with many of the parts made right in Owego, New York,” Reed said. “This partnership is not only good news for our local manufacturing base, but also for the safety and security of the Polish people.”
Reed noted that Poland is one of only seven NATO allies that meets the commitment to spend at least 2% of its gross domestic product on defense.
He applauded Poland’s recently signed $33 billion in contracts with U.S. firms for delivery of much needed natural gas to the region as part of a commitment to wean Poland off Russian energy.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)