Trump refuses to listen to advisers when they want him to get tough with Putin.
Facing the nearly unanimous opinion from his top military commanders that quickly withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria would be a huge mistake military, political and diplomatically, Trump continues to press forward with an impulsive plan that no doubt pleases the Kremlin.
Meeting with his top military advisers at the White House on Wednesday, an irritated Trump demanded a complete U.S. troop withdrawal from the chaotic war, complete with a firm, public deadline.
Commanders explained how such a move in Syria would play right into the hands of Russia, among others.
"During the meeting with his national security council at the White House, Trump was told by top advisers such as Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, that leaving Syria now would provide an opening for Russia, Turkey and Iran to advance their own interests in the country, which run counter to the United States'," CNN reported.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin has long eyed Syria as a must-have outpost for influence in the region.
U.S. commanders were so incensed by Trump's refusal to listen to their advice that they left the meeting "beside themselves."
They were angry that Trump's hasty plan, which would include cutting off money to restore power and water to the besieged country, would likely make it easier for ISIS to stage a comeback once U.S. troops leave.
Commanders also left the meeting furious because Trump refused to provide any guidance. When asked specifically what he wanted to see accomplished in Syria, he simply told them to "get the job done" and defeat ISIS.
But just last month, top U.S. commanders fighting ISIS in Syria complained that the White House refuses to provide guidance, even as U.S. troops stand on the precipice of defeating ISIS.
Commanders argued that White House officials were so distracted by the roiling, internal chaos within the administration, including the firing of Trump's secretary of state and national security adviser, that they refused to focus on Syria.
"We send memos. We tell them [the White House] what is going on. I’m not sure they’re listening, or if they even know what we’re doing out here,” said one senior officer. "I don’t think anyone is home right now."
Added another: "We’re on the two-yard line. We could literally fall into the end zone. We’re that close to total victory, to whipping out the ISIS caliphate in Syria. We’re that close and now, it’s coming apart."
Trump's refusal to listen to his commanders, particularly when they warn he's giving too much to Russia, runs counter to the GOP spin that Trump has great respect for the military.
Last year the conservative Washington Times bragged that, "The same President Trump who can be gruff and erratic in public tweets is a commander in chief who is deferential and attentive when he talks to a star-studded cast of his closest military advisers."
Turns out Trump ignores his star-studded cast if they want him to get tough with Putin.