Graham: Trump ‘Needs to Go to Afghanistan’

Daniel Flatley

Donald Trump needs to visit U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said as the president weighs plans to bring home half of the 14,000 Americans stationed there.

“The president needs to go to Afghanistan,” Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters at the Capitol Friday. “He hasn’t visited our troops, and he needs to do that.”

Trump announced this week that he’s pulling all American troops out of Syria, prompting the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and a U.S. defense official said the president also plans the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan.

Unless reducing U.S. forces in Afghanistan by half is part of a broader strategy, it would be “worse than anything Obama did,” Graham said of Trump’s predecessor.

Graham, a former military lawyer who says he’s made 50 trips to Afghanistan and Iraq, said he will seek Senate hearings on Trump’s troop withdrawal plans. The senator from South Carolina, who has supported Trump on many issues, said this week that the president’s Syria withdrawal decision “rattled the world” and was made despite the concerns of his “entire national security team.”

Trump tweeted in response: “So hard to believe that Lindsey Graham would be against saving soldier lives & billions of $$$.”