‘Mr. Kurd’ says Trump has abandoned US allies in Middle East

Political News

In this image from video, Kurdish journalist Rahim Rashidi is interviewed by The Associated Press in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. A year ago, Rashidi stood up at a news conference and listened to President Donald Trump praise his people. Trump professed respect for the “great” U.S. allies, even inadvertently giving Rashidi the nickname “Mr. Kurd” as he called on him to ask a question. Trump vowed to protect them. Trump this week pulled back U.S. troops from northeast Syria, essentially abandoning the Kurdish fighters who have been America’s only allies in Syria fighting the Islamic State group. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mr. Kurd feels betrayed.

A year ago, Kurdish journalist Rahim Rashidi stood up at a news conference and listened to President Donald Trump praise his people. Trump professed respect for the “great” U.S. allies, even inadvertently giving Rashidi the nickname “Mr. Kurd” as he called on him to ask a question. Trump vowed to protect them.

“They fought with us. They died with us,” Trump said in a hotel ballroom in New York City, crowded with reporters. “We have not forgotten.”

None of that panned out.

Trump this week pulled back U.S. troops from northeast Syria, essentially abandoning the Kurdish fighters who have been America’s only allies in Syria fighting the Islamic State group.

The move paved the way for Turkey to attack the Kurdish forces it considers terrorists. On Wednesday, Ankara launched airstrikes and fired artillery into Syria, causing casualties.

The attack happened “in front of his eyes,” Rashidi said of Trump. “He did nothing.”

For much of Washington, the news conference in September 2018 was just another strange episode of the Trump presidency — an awkward moment of cultural clumsiness for a president prone to them. But for Rashidi and other Kurds, it was an unforgettable pledge of protection and assurance.

Rashidi, who is based in Washington, didn’t bristle at being called “Mr. Kurd” — he embraced it. He even put it on his business card.

“If you remember, I was very happy,” Rashidi said, describing Trump as the most powerful man in the world.

He doesn’t know what changed in the intervening months. Republicans and Democrats in Congress, along with many national defense experts, say the move has placed U.S. credibility as well as the Kurds and regional stability at great risk.

On Wednesday, Trump said in a tweet that the United States should not be “fighting and policing” in the Middle East.

But his stance caused whiplash for those who had found hope in Trump’s earlier words.

“Yes, please, Mr. Kurd. Go ahead,” Trump said at the news conference last year, prompting some head-scratching from those who puzzled over why the president would refer to a reporter that way.

Rashidi asked about the United States’ relationship with the Kurds after the defeat of the Islamic State group. Trump was effusive.

“We’re trying to help them a lot,” Trump said. He even offered some unprompted reassurance: “We don’t forget. I don’t forget,” Trump said. “I can tell you that I don’t forget.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Trending Stories

Turkey Day Giveaway

Days

Hours

Minutes

Seconds

Recent Videos

41st annual Chamber of Horrors

Thumbnail for the video titled "41st annual Chamber of Horrors"

Dogs test speed in Agility Trial

Thumbnail for the video titled "Dogs test speed in Agility Trial"

Graham ISD receives much-needed help from GRMC

Thumbnail for the video titled "Graham ISD receives much-needed help from GRMC"

Burkburnett woman sentenced for child abandonment and endangerment

Thumbnail for the video titled "Burkburnett woman sentenced for child abandonment and endangerment"

WF man sentenced for theft of union funds

Thumbnail for the video titled "WF man sentenced for theft of union funds"

Local father who lost son to fatal car accident uses tragedy to educate others

Thumbnail for the video titled "Local father who lost son to fatal car accident uses tragedy to educate others"

Kamay Volunteer Fire Department hosts steak feed

Thumbnail for the video titled "Kamay Volunteer Fire Department hosts steak feed"

Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome awareness

Thumbnail for the video titled "Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome awareness"

Mom builds Halloween display for terminally ill son

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mom builds Halloween display for terminally ill son"

Duncan School Threat

Thumbnail for the video titled "Duncan School Threat"

Sikes Senter Mall robbery

Thumbnail for the video titled "Sikes Senter Mall robbery"

Horses help inmates struggling with anger and anxiety

Thumbnail for the video titled "Horses help inmates struggling with anger and anxiety"
Get FREE Text Alerts
Report It

Latest News

More Local News