Sen. Lindsey Graham said President Trump agreed that Islamic State terrorists in Syria must be defeated.
“He promised to destroy ISIS. He’s going to keep that promise. We’re not there yet, but as I said today we’re inside the 10-yard line and the president understands the need to finish the job,” Graham told reporters after he had lunch with the president at the White House.
The South Carolina Republican said Trump’s trip to visit US troops in Iraq the day after Christmas was “eye-opening.”
“The commanders there told him that ISIS was in a world of hurt, not completely destroyed but well on the way,” Graham said.
Earlier Sunday, Graham told Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he would push Trump to reconsider his decision to pull the 2,000 US troops in Syria or risk allowing ISIS to regenerate.
He said he was also concerned about the fate of Kurdish fighters who played a crucial role in the US-backed coalition battling ISIS in Syria.
Turkey views the Kurds as terrorists who are aligned with groups trying to foster dissent inside its borders.
“The Kurds stepped up when no one else did,” Graham said outside the White House.
He said Trump has talked to Turkey about creating a buffer zone for the Kurds.
“The last thing we want is a war between Turkey and the Kurds and ISIS being the big winner,” he said.
Trump announced the abrupt pullout of troops from Syria earlier this month, prompting the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.