HELENA — Montana’s only U.S. House member, Republican Greg Gianforte, joined 128 fellow Republicans and all House Democrats in supporting a resolution Wednesday that opposes President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops in northern Syria.
The resolution, which passed 354-60, also called on Turkish President Recip Erdogan to stop his country’s military action attacking Kurdish forces in northeast Syria and for continued U.S. support of the Kurds, who have fought with U.S. forces against the Islamic State.
Montana’s two U.S. senators also indicated Thursday they will support a similar resolution in the Senate – although that bill had yet to be brought to the floor.
Last week, President Trump ordered U.S. forces withdrawn from the area, allowing the Turkish military and other allied groups to attack the Kurds, which Turkey regards as terrorists.
The ensuing attacks also have allowed imprisoned Islamic State fighters to escape, according to published reports.
Gianforte, who’s running for Montana governor next year, said his vote for the resolution does not mean he doesn’t support President Trump.
“Greg … believes Turkey’s aggression into Syria threatens our long-standing Kurdish allies, opens the door to ISIS terrorists re-emerging and flies in the face of the commitments President Erdogan made to President Trump, which is why he voted for the resolution and supports sanctions against Turkey,” a spokesman for Gianforte told MTN News.
In the Senate, a similar resolution has been introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he may bring a different resolution to the floor.
Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, supports sending a “strong, bipartisan message to President Trump condemning this reckless decision,” a spokesman told MTN News.
“Sen. Tester is deeply concerned that the president announced this withdrawal over the ongoing objections of his generals and military leaders, and he believes that abandoning our allies in the fight against ISIS undermines our standing in the world and will only threaten regional and global stability,” she said.
The office of Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines said if the resolution in the Senate is similar to the one in the House, he plans to support it – but that he’s waiting to see the wording of the resolution that ends up on the floor.