WASHINGTON — While all eyes were focused on the first impeachment hearing examining President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, Trump himself remained focused on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the White House.
The two leaders discussed expanding a trade relationship and a plan to prevent the resurgence of ISIS — following Trump’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Northern Syria.
“When I took over, thousands and thousands of ISIS fighters were all over,” Trump said. “Now, they’re mostly in prison. I will say the Kurds are watching over them and Turkey is also watching over them – and Turkey recently has captured over a hundred ISIS fighters.”
Erdogan’s visit drew criticism from lawmakers in both chambers of Congress who urged Trump not to meet with him, especially after Turkey attacked Kurdish forces in Northern Syria following the sudden withdrawal of American troops.
Senator Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, with the support of Turkey native and Boston Celtics basketball player Enes Kanter, introduced legislation to condemn the Turkish government’s abuse of human rights.
“President Trump’s silence on this is un-American,” Markey said.
“There are human rights in this country, and sadly none of this is in my country,” Kanter added.
Congressman Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, said the meeting between the two leaders is uncomfortable but necessary.
“We don’t want a Turkey going closer and closer to Russia and it’s in our best interest to keep them out of Russia’s orbit,” Perry said.