Brett McGurk, the Trump administration's top envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, resigned on Friday in protest of President Donald Trump's sudden decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, multiplemedia outlets reported on Saturday.
- McGurk, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2015, submitted his resignation to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just one day after Secretary of Defense James Mattis submitted his own scathing letter of resignation in response to the new Syria withdrawal plans.
- According to CBS News, McGurk "had been planning to exit his post in February 2019 ... but will accelerate his departure due to a strong disagreement" with Trump's strange position that ISIS has been soundly defeated in the country.
- In an early December State Department briefing, McGurk said of ISIS that “it would be reckless if we were just to say, ‘Well, the physical caliphate is defeated, so we can just leave now.’ I think anyone who’s looked at a conflict like this would agree with that.”
- Just days later, McGurk had argued that "Americans will remain on the ground after the physical defeat of the caliphate until we have the pieces in place to ensure that that defeat is enduring."
- According to Bloomberg, Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria came during a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, a decision that blindsided officials at both State and Defense.