A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."
The blow up came during a Feb. 16 meeting in Munich with Shanahan and three dozen lawmakers from both parties, according to Breitbart, the Washington Post, and NBC.
Graham's spokesman Kevin Bishop did not dispute media reports of Graham's comments during the meeting, adding the senator declined to comment for this story.
At the Munich security conference, Graham pushed for having European allies send hundreds of their troops to create a buffer zone along Syria's border with Turkey. But those countries won't send any troops if the U.S. withdraws all of its forces from Syria, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), told the Washington Post.
"[Shanahan] got a chorus of voices that basically said, 'This is not going to work, there is a bipartisan resolve not to let this happen, and you need to send a message back to the president that there's a combined, unified view this is not the way to go and he should change course,' "Menendez told the Washington Post.
Task & Purpose was unable to reach Menendez for comment.
Other lawmakers were not satisfied with what NBC described as Shanahan's "talking-points approach" to answering their questions on the Syria withdrawal."
"You just lost the Senate," one unnamed senator was quoted by Breitbart as telling Shanahan.
A Defense Department spokesman provided Task & Purpose a brief statement in response to questions about what transpired when Shanahan met with the lawmakers in Munich.
"This was a closed-door meeting in which access was restricted to allow principals to discuss operational issues," said Army Lt. Col. Joe Buccino. "We do not discuss specific statements or exchanges inside such meetings. We would broadly characterize this as a positive, productive discussion on a wide range of global topics. The meeting ended on a positive note for all parties."
Two U.S. troops in Afghanistan have been killed in non-combat incidents and a sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was declared dead after falling overboard while the ship was supporting operations in Afghanistan.
At least two defense contractors have also been killed in Afghanistan. One was a Navy veteran and the other had served in the Army.
U.S. Air Force officer passes in front of a MQ-9 Reaper drone, one of a squadron that has arrived to step up the fight against the Taliban, at the Kandahar air base, Afghanistan January 23, 2018. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. military MQ-9 drone was shot down in Yemen's Dhamar governate, southeast of the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
A Houthi military spokesman had earlier said that air defenses had brought down a U.S. drone.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the drone was shot down late on Tuesday.