Lindsey Graham to President Trump: `I will hold you accountable’ on Turkey’s actions in Syria , Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a bipartisan Turkey sanctions bill Thursday that would go far beyond the economic ,
Widening the rift between the two Republicans over Trump’s controversial decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria. “Mr. President, as much as I like you and want to work with you, I am going to be consistent and I will hold you accountable,” Graham said at a news conference unveiling the bill.
He spoke shortly before Vice President Mike Pence announced from Turkey that the two governments agreed to a five-day pause on military operations in Syria. And once there is a permanent ceasefire in place, the U.S. will lift sanctions that Trump imposed on Turkey Monday.
Graham applauded the temporary ceasefire but warned it’s just a first step in what needs to happen. He said he’ll continue to seek support for his proposal in the Senate.
The legislation, which Graham introduced with Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., would target Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s personal finances and sanction the Turkish armed forces, among other entities.
Graham said the sanctions are needed not just to fix the situation in Syria, but because China, Russian and Iran are also watching and need to be told they can’t act with impunity. Graham has been one of Trump’s most vocal defenders in other controversies, from the Russia investigation to the Ukraine impeachment probe.
But on Syria, the South Carolina senator and ardent defense hawk has become Trump’s chief antagonist.Graham was among the first to denounce Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which he and others said gave Turkey a green light to attack the Kurdish forces who helped the U.S .