Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy for the global coalition to defeat Islamic State (ISIS), has resigned in the wake of President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, Fox News confirmed Saturday — coming on the heels of the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis earlier this week.
U.S. officials said this week that the Trump administration is making plans to pull all 2,000 troops out of Syria, and Trump later tweeted that “we have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”
Ground troops moved into Syria in 2015 to combat ISIS in the region, amid an escalating Syrian civil war. Trump had talked about pulling out of Syria before, but military leaders had warned about ISIS re-emerging should the U.S. do so. There is also concern about abandoning the U.S.’ Kurdish allies.
On Thursday, Trump announced that Mattis was retiring in February. Mattis’ resignation letter said that Trump had a right to a Defense Secretary “whose views are better aligned with yours” on policy. Sources told Fox News this week that Mattis’ resignation was “in protest” over the president’s national security policies and that more resignations could be coming.
The Associated Press reported that McGurk said in a resignation letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that ISIS was on the run, but wasn’t yet defeated and that U.S. work in Syria wasn’t yet done. Fox News has confirmed that McGurk submitted his resignation letter on Friday, a day after Secretary Mattis resigned. His resignation is effective December 31. His resignation was first reported by CBS News.
The president reacted to the news via Twitter Saturday evening, saying he had neither met McGurk nor appointed him.
“Brett McGurk, who I do not know, was appointed by President Obama in 2015. Was supposed to leave in February but he just resigned prior to leaving,” Trump tweeted. “Grandstander? The Fake News is making such a big deal about this nothing event!”
“If anybody but your favorite President, Donald J. Trump, announced that, after decimating ISIS in Syria, we were going to bring our troops back home (happy & healthy), that person would be the most popular hero in America,” he continued in a follow-up tweet. “With me, hit hard instead by the Fake News Media. Crazy!” – READ MORE