Appearing Monday on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that President Donald Trump is “fully prepared” to take military action against Turkey over its actions against the Kurds in northern Syria.
A partial transcript is as follows:
WILFRED FROST: You said in an interview last week that President Trump explicitly told [Turkish] President Erdogan not to do this in that phone call. Nonetheless, he went ahead and did it. Lives have been lost as a result. The punishment is economic sanctions that have lasted 5-10 days? What would warrant a military response from the U.S., bearing in mind we’ve seen an attack by Iran on Saudi Arabia, as well?
SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO: I never get out front of the president’s decision whether to take the awesome undertaking of using America’s military might to protect American interests, but the world should know we’ve done it before. We took strikes into Syria. When chemical weapons were used, we did it to uphold the fundamental norm that chemical weapons can’t be used. The previous administration refused to enforce this basic, decent human rights norm. We did it and the world should know that we will continue to do that, whether see American interests at stake or fundamental norms around the world that need to be enforced, we’ll use all the powers that we have.
You suggested the economic powers that we’ve used. We’ll certainly use them. We’ll use our diplomatic powers as well. Those are our preference. We prefer peace to war. But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.