Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, blasted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s optimistic assessment of the ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdish forces Sunday, saying Pompeo was in a “parallel, alternate universe.”
“I think the secretary lives in a parallel alternate universe,” Menendez said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding President Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria, which led to a Turkish incursion into the region shortly thereafter, “was a betrayal of the Kurds who fought and died alongside of us in pursuit of ending the threat of ISIS.”
Menendez said the withdrawal would also weaken Israel and strengthen Iran and was “a betrayal of our foreign policy to the Russians, who are the big winners in all of this.”
Under the ceasefire agreement brokered by Vice President Mike Pence, Menendez added, “there’s no guarantees the administration has as it relates to the reconfiguration of ISIS … there’s no guarantees about our interests.”
“Everybody in the region is recalibrating and rethinking about what their alliances should be,” Menendez added. “The president unleashed this disaster [and] I think there’s going to be a real threat to the Kurds of ethnic cleansing.”
Menendez told host George Stephanopoulos that “if we send a global message that we will abandon those who have fought alongside with us, then others in the world when we are asking them to fight with us or for us will say ‘why should I do that?’”
Trump and Pompeo have both hailed the ceasefire, although Trump’s foreign policy critics have accused the U.S. of conceding everything Turkey sought in the region.