In northern Syria, as many as 300,000 civilians have been forced to flee as Turkey’s assault on Kurdish-controlled areas continues. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have arrived in Turkey, where they are expected to meet with Erdogan today. They are said to be pushing for a ceasefire, which Erdogan has so far rejected. Turkey invaded the region after President Trump spoke with Erdogan on the telephone, and then the U.S. abruptly withdrew a small number of U.S. troops from the region. On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted overwhelming to condemn Trump’s actions in Syria, in what The New York Times described as “the most significant bipartisan repudiation of Mr. Trump since he took office.” Shortly after the vote, Trump met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders and had what Pelosi called “a meltdown.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “I think that vote, the size of the vote — more than two-to-one Republicans voted to oppose what the president did — probably got to the president, because he was shaken up by it. And that’s why we couldn’t continue in the meeting, because he was just not relating to the reality of it. … What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown, sad to say.”
Trump later said Pelosi was the one who had a “meltdown.” During the meeting, Trump also distributed a copy of a letter he sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 9, the day of Turkey’s invasion. In the letter, Trump wrote, “Let’s work out a deal! You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be destroying the Turkish economy — and I will.” Trump ended the letter writing, “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool! I’ll call you later.” The BBC reports Erdogan received the letter and threw it in the trash. Since the U.S. withdrawal, the Kurds have aligned themselves with the Syrian government. A number of former ISIS fighters who were being held by the Kurds have escaped. We’ll have more on the Turkish offensive later in the broadcast.