Appearing Wednesday on the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) urged President Donald Trump to “don’t be like Obama” and stand up to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s military operation against the Kurds in northern Syria.
A partial transcript is as follows:
PAT ROBERTSON: I understand [Turkish President] Erdoğan won’t meet with Mike Pence. Is that true?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: I don’t know, but Erdoğan’s not your friend. Pat, you’ve done a great job. To your viewers, if you are not praying for the Kurds, we should all be ashamed of ourselves. It was the Kurds who worked for the American military to destroy ISIS. If we abandon the Kurds, it will be dishonorable, it will be a disaster. Erdoğan invaded Turkey — excuse me — Syria and he has created a vacuum for ISIS to come back. The Kurds cannot fight Turkey and control the 10,000 ISIS prisoners.
I am looking to President Trump to change this. I will do anything I can to help him, but I will also become President Trump’s worst nightmare. I will not sit along the sidelines and watch a good ally, the Kurds, be slaughtered by Turkey and watch Iran move into Syria and become another nightmare for Israel. This is a defining moment for President Trump. He needs to up his game
ROBERTSON: We’ve got 50 tactical nuclear weapons in Turkey. Erdoğan is really in control of that now, isn’t he? How do we get that huge airbase or are we just going to adbandon that or is he going to take it away from us?
SEN. GRAHAM: Over my dead body. I miss Ronald Reagan. Pat, you’re old enough to know what American strength looks like. Do you think Erdoğan would have done this if Reagan had been around? Do you think Assad would have done what he had done if Reagan had been around? So this is Trump’s chance to be like Ronald Reagan. We’ve got a par of aces and they’ve got a pair of twos… President Trump, if you are listening to this interview, if you remove all of our forces from Syria, you are throwing the Kurds over, ISIS will come back on your watch, Iran will take, and you, my friend, will be in great jeopardy of losing an election we can’t afford you to lose. So don’t be like Obama, be like Reagan and stand up to Erdoğan.