President Donald Trump will leap from the frying pan of impeachment into the fire of foreign policy controversy when he hosts his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Wednesday.
On the day that the impeachment process shifts to the dramatic phase of public hearings in Congress, Trump’s meeting and joint press conference with Erdogan at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue promise extra fireworks.
Trump and Erdogan have good chemistry and the US president often seems to get along better with foreign strongmen than traditional US allies in places such as Western Europe or Canada.
That relationship, however, is under strain following NATO member Turkey’s October offensive against US-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
Trump ordered US troops in the border area to withdraw ahead of the Turkish invasion while exhorting Erdogan in an extraordinarily undiplomatic letter to hold his military back.
“Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” Trump wrote in the letter, which was reportedly thrown by Erdogan into the trash.
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