--START--VIDEO - Wesley Clark on Trump’s Syria withdrawal: ‘Did Erdogan blackmail the president? Was there a payoff?’ | TheHill

Wesley Clark on Monday questioned whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blackmailed President Trump Donald John TrumpBipartisan lawmakers urge Air Force secretary for top Defense position Austin couple places baby Jesus in 'ICE cage' to protest Trump immigration policies Female White House correspondent: 'I’ve never seen as many moms' in briefing room as during Trump presidency MORE into his decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria.

"There doesn’t seem to be any strategic rationale for the decision. And if there’s no strategic rationale for the decision then you have to ask, why was the decision made?" the retired U.S. Army general and former NATO commander said on CNN's "New Day."

"People around the world are asking this and some of our friends and our allies in the Middle East are asking, did Erdogan blackmail the president? Was there a payoff is or something? Why would a guy make a decision like this? Because all the recommendations were against it," he added.

Ex-NATO Supreme Allied Commander @GeneralClark: "I'm very concerned" about the US withdrawal from Syria because "there doesn't seem to be any strategic rationale for the decision."

"Did Erdogan blackmail the president? Was there a payoff is or something?" https://t.co/UQv2VD93oo pic.twitter.com/QAwWNjkOY3

— New Day (@NewDay) December 24, 2018

Trump last week announced that the U.S. would withdraw its roughly 2,000 troops from Syria, a decision that prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis James Norman MattisBipartisan lawmakers urge Air Force secretary for top Defense position Defense Department signs executive order to withdraw troops from Syria Bloomberg blasts Trump as ‘recklessly emotional and senselessly chaotic’ MORE .

The decision also elicited concern among lawmakers, who have said that removing troops will aid Russia and Turkey in the region.

Trump early Monday wrote on Twitter that Erdogan informed him that Turkey will "eradicate whatever is left" of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.

"President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria....and he is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right “next door.” Our troops are coming home!" Trump wrote.

Clark, a frequent Trump critic, said on CNN that Trump's decision should be of concern to the U.S. because of what it indicates about the country's foreign policy.

"What does this say about the foreign policy of the United States? That we're not reliable? That we make strategic decisions based on no strategic logic? What kind of person is driving the helm? That’s the issue," he said.

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/422717-wesley-clark-on-trumps-syria-withdrawal-did-erdogan-blackmail-the-president