Washington — While Senator Jim Inhofe criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria Tuesday, Oklahoma’s junior Senator was more hesitant to take a stance.
“We have 1000 troops, they're currently on the ground fighting ISIS...that is exceptionally important, we don't have to be the only force that's doing that,” James Lankford (R-Okla.) said.
Lankford, who serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he supports withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, but was less clear about how quickly those forces should be pulled back.
“We've already cut the forces in half in the past year that was in Syria, so the key aspect is, however we pull out our forces, we need to make sure that we're not allowing ISIS to go expand again quickly,” said Lankford.
The Oklahoma senator also said he didn’t want citizens to blame Trump “every time that there's an ISIS attack,” because the President chose to pull out of Syria.
“There's no question, if ISIS is given a home place at some point... then they will plan and organize and carry out terrorist attacks across the region and in all likelihood to the United States,” Lankford said.
Lankford said he doesn’t expect the move from Syria to directly affect Oklahomans, but to pay attention because anything could change.
“We're all kind of watching to be able to see because no one really knows what the Turks are going to do, or the region that they're going to try to move into,” Lankford said. “People have a lot of suspicions and a lot of fears, but no one really knows at this point.”
Gaylord News is a reporting project of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.