While Trump has repeatedly voiced his desire to bring troops home before Election Day, various defense officials and confidants on the Hill and in GOP circles have repeatedly insisted to Trump that such large-scale withdrawals would risk creating an election-year mess that would dwarf the fallout that came after President Barack Obama’s troop withdrawal from Iraq, two of the sources said.
It’s a strategy of “scaring the shit out of the president,” as one former senior Trump administration official characterized it. It plays on his fears of possibly getting tagged as “weak” like Obama was. Trumpworld and Republican hawks have used the stratagem to great success in earlier years of this administration. The tactic helped convince Trump to embrace the Afghanistan surge of summer 2017, and got him to quickly back off withdrawals from Syria in both 2018 and 2019. About 900 troops will remain in Syria, a number unchanged by the Iraq drawdown.
Which is why the headline is essentially correct: Trump’s Troop Withdrawal Is a ‘Disingenuous’ Election Year Ploy, Officials Say