Donald Trump on the Kurds

Quotes by Donald Trump on Protecting the Kurds


2018 - June 2019
Oct 2019

Donald Trump on the Kurds Then
Donald Trump on the Kurds Now

#DonaldTrump 7/12/18: "The Kurds are great people…wonderful, warm, intelligent allies." » #Trump 10/7/19: "It is time for us to get out…the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out." Click To Tweet

Quotes by Donald Trump on Protecting the Kurds


2018 - June 2019

Donald Trump on the Kurds Then
“I think the Kurds are great people. They’re incredible fighters. They’re wonderful, warm, intelligent allies, in many cases. As you know, it’s different groups of people. But they’re great people. I really do — I believe they’re great people.”
- July 12, 2018

White House, July 12, 2018
Remarks by President Trump at Press Conference After NATO Summit | Brussels, Belgium

(retrieved 10/9/19)
starts at 0:10

“We are helping [the Kurds] a lot, and we’ve been very friendly with them. And as you know we’ve fought side-by-side and we have defeated ISIS…and we did it with a lot of help from the Kurds. And they are, they’re great fighters…and they’re great, great people…we have had tremendous support from the Kurds in supporting ISIS
“We do get along great with the Kurds. We’re trying to help them a lot. Don’t forget, that’s their territory. We have to help them. I want to help them… They fought with us. They died with us. They died. We lost — tens of thousands of Kurds died fighting ISIS. They died for us and with us…I don’t forget what happens someday later, but I can tell you that I don’t forget. These are great people.”
- Sept 26, 2018

Washington Post, Sept 26, 2018
President Trump’s U.N. press conference, annotated

(retrieved 10/9/19)
quote starts at beginning
“The Kurds — our partners — are selling oil to Iran. We’re not thrilled about that… But we want to protect the Kurds, nevertheless. We want to protect the Kurds. But I don’t want to be in Syria forever. It’s sand and it’s death.”
- Jan 2, 2019

White House, Jan 3, 2019
Remarks by President Trump in Cabinet Meeting

(retrieved 10/9/19)
quote starts at beginning
“[Turkish President Recep Erdoğan] had a 65,000-man army at the border, and he was going to wipe out the Kurds… They were lined up to go out and wipe out the people that we just defeated the ISIS caliphate with, and I said, ‘You can’t do that.’ You can’t do it. And he didn’t do it.”
- June 29, 2019

White House, June 29, 2019
Remarks by President Trump in Press Conference | Osaka, Japan

(retrieved 10/9/19)
starts at 0:23

#DonaldTrump 9/26/18: "Tens of thousands of Kurds died fighting ISIS…I don’t forget." » #Trump 10/9/19: "The Kurds…didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy." Click To Tweet


Oct 2019

Donald Trump on the Kurds Now
“The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago. We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight… The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades. I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home… Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out.”
“If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey… It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory.”
“I think there’s a lot of pressure on Turkey. They have been fighting with the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] for many years. They’re natural enemies… As you know, it was started by President Obama; he created a natural war with Turkey and their longtime enemy, PKK. And they’re still there.”
Oct 7, 2019 -
“We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters. Likewise our relationship with Turkey, a NATO and Trading partner, has been very good. Turkey already has a large Kurdish population and fully understands that while we only had 50 soldiers remaining in that section of Syria, and they have been removed, any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency. We are helping the Kurds financially/weapons!”
“This morning, Turkey, a NATO member, invaded Syria. The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea…we continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Oct 9, 2019 -
“The Kurds are fighting for their land…and as someone wrote in a very, very powerful article today: They didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy, as an example… And in addition that, we’ve spent tremendous amounts of money on helping the Kurds, in terms of ammunition, in terms of weapons, in terms of money, in terms of pay. With all of that being said, we like the Kurds.”
Oct 9, 2019 -

The Hill, Oct 9, 2019
Trump defends Syria move: The Kurds 'didn't help us' in Normandy

(retrieved 10/9/19)
starts at beginning

Turkey has been planning to attack the Kurds for a long time. They have been fighting forever… Talking to both sides… I say hit Turkey very hard financially & with sanctions if they don’t play by the rules! I am watching closely.”
“Now Turkey is attacking the Kurds, who have been fighting each other for 200 years. We have one of three choices: Send in thousands of troops and win Militarily, hit Turkey very hard Financially and with Sanctions, or mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds!”
“The Turks have been fighting with the Kurds for two centuries… The troops have been pulled out where Turkey is carrying out now a very tough campaign against the Kurds. Get them out. So Turkey is right now waging a very tough campaign against the Kurds. We get along with the Kurds and we help the Kurds. Don’t forget they’re also fighting for their land…

“So, in the case of Turkey and Syria and the Kurds, we could send in a thousand troops for a military conflict with Turkey. No, you don’t want to do that. We could hit Turkey very hard financially or we could mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds. I like that, you know, let’s mediate a deal but remember, they’ve been fighting each other for hundreds of years.”
Oct 10, 2019 -

“So, Turkey and the Kurds have been fighting for hundreds of years. We are out of there… And if Turkey does something that they shouldn’t be doing, we will put on sanctions the likes of which very few countries have ever seen before.”
Oct 11, 2019 -

White House, Oct 12, 2019
Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure

(retrieved 10/12/19)
“In the case of Turkey and the Kurds… That 30 kilometers — about 22 miles strip along Turkey — and the Kurds are tending to leave and that’s good. Let them have their borders… let’s see what happens. And it’s a long ways away. We killed ISIS. We defeated — we did our job. We have to go home… We’ve paid a lot of money to the Kurds over the years. And don’t forget, they’re fighting for their land. They haven’t helped us fighting for our land. They’re fighting for their land and that’s good, but we’ve helped them.”
Oct 12, 2019 -
“The Kurds have been fighting with Turkey for a long time. The Kurds are some very good people, some very bad people, some — if you look at PKK, they are among the — you know, a tough, tough group of people, let me put it that way…
“[Turkish President Recep Erdoğan] has been building up for a year on his border. They have a tremendous unlimited amount of soldiers because, you know, Turkey is right there. It’s their border. And they have been fighting with the Kurds for many years, for centuries, they’ve been fighting with the Kurds. And it’s like some people go to lunch, that’s what they do, they fight with the Kurds. It’s time for us to leave.”
Oct 12, 2019 -
“The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely.”
“Europe had a chance to get their ISIS prisoners, but didn’t want the cost. ‘Let the USA pay,’ they said. Kurds may be releasing some to get us involved. Easily recaptured by Turkey or European Nations from where many came, but they should move quickly. Big sanctions on Turkey coming!”
“Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land. I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria and Assad to protect the land of our enemy? Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!”
“[Turkish President Recep Erdoğan has] been building up troops on the border with Syria for long time, as you know… And I say why are we protecting Syria‘s land? Assad‘s not a friend of ours. Why are we protecting their land? And is Syria also has a relationship with the Kurds, who, by the way, are no angels, okay? Who is an angel? There aren’t too many around. But Syria has a relationship with the Kurds, so they’ll come in for their border and they’ll fight. They may bring partners in. They could bring Russia in. And I say welcome to it
“Now, the PKK, which is a part of the Kurds, as you know, is probably worse at terror and more of a terrorist threat in many ways than ISIS… We have two countries wanting their land. We have one country that wants land perhaps that doesn’t belong to them because they want to have a–a 22 mile strip of–they call it freedom. They called it a lot of things. They want to get terrorists out. You have another country that says you can’t have our land. And they’re going to have to work that out.”
Oct 16, 2019 -

Real Clear Politics, Oct 16, 2019
Trump: I'm Embarrassed To Say How Many Countries The U.S. Military Is In, It Is So Foolish

(retrieved 10/17/19)
quote starts at beginning
Syria and Turkey may fight. Syria is friendly with the Kurds. The Kurds are very well protected; plus, they know how to fight. And, by the way, they’re no angels, but they were with us. They are no angels.
“We’ve put massive sanctions on Turkey… If Syria wants to fight for their land, that’s up to Turkey and Syria, as it has been for hundreds of years, they’ve been fighting. And the Kurds have been fighting for hundreds of years — that whole mess. It’s been going along for a long time. Syria may have some help with Russia, and that’s fine. It’s a lot of sand. They’ve got a lot of sand over there. So there’s a lot of sand that they can play with…
“I think we’re doing a very good job in the sense of, strategically, we have Syria talking about their land. It’s not our land. Turkey has gone on to Syria. And, if Turkey goes into Syria, that’s between Turkey and Syria
The Kurds are much safer right now, but the Kurds know how to fight. And, as I said, they’re not angels. They’re not angels, if you take a look. You have to go back and take a look. But they fought with us. We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us, and that’s okay. They did well when they fought with us; they didn’t do so well when they didn’t fight with us.”
Oct 16, 2019 -

Although widely reported elsewhere 'It’s not our problem' is not in the White House transcript.

White House, Oct 16, 2019
Remarks by President Trump and President Mattarella of the Italian Republic Before Bilateral Meeting

(retrieved 10/17/19)
quote starts at beginning
“If you look at the Kurds — and again, I say this with great respect: they’re no angels. If you look at PKK — Take a look at PKK. ISIS respects PKK. You know, why? Because they’re as tough or tougher than ISIS. You take a look at a lot of the things having to do — you have to say it — nobody wants to say it. We’re making the Kurds look like they’re angels… We paid a lot for them to fight with us. But, just so you understand, we were the ones that captured ISIS. People let some go; they opened a couple of doors to make us look as bad as possible. We have a situation where Turkey is taking land from Syria. Syria is not happy about it. Let them work it out… Other people will go in — and very easy to recapture those people that, probably, the Kurds let go to make a little bit stronger political impact. And that’s okay.”
Oct 16, 2019 -
On behalf of the United States I want to thank Turkey. I want to thank all of the people that have gotten together and made this happen. This is an incredible outcome. So, you have a 22 mile strip and for many, many years Turkey in all fairness, have had a legitimate problem with it. They had terrorists, they had a lot of people in there that they shouldn’t have. They’ve suffered a lot of loss of lives also. And they had to have it cleaned out… the Kurds and other people they are going to be taken great care of. They are going to be moving around. Moving out of a safe zone, which is something that Turkey has always wanted…
“As a group I want to thank the Kurds because they were incredibly happy with this solution. This is a solution that really well, it saved their lives frankly. It saved their lives. So, we’ve done a great thing for our partner. If we didn’t go this unconventional tough love approach they could have never gotten it done… The Kurds were great. Great day for the Kurds. It’s really a great day for civilization…
“Sanctions won’t be necessary because Turkey is doing what they’re doing… What Turkey is getting now is they’re not going to have to kill millions of people and millions of people aren’t going to have to kill them. I mean, this was going to be a war of lots of other groups coming in. This wasn’t going to stop with Turkey against the Kurds… It was going to be very nasty… This is a situation where everybody is happy.”
Oct 17, 2019 -

Real Clear Politics, Oct 17, 2019
Trump: Turkey Ceasefire An ‘Incredible Outcome’ That ‘Saved Lives,’ This Is A ‘Great Day For Civilization’

(retrieved 10/17/19)
quote starts at beginning
“We’ve all agreed on a pause or a ceasefire in the border region of Syria, and it was unconventional what I did. I said, they’re going to have to fight a little while, sometimes you have to let them fight a little while, then people find out how tough the fighting is… Sometimes you have to let them fight like two kids in a lot, you got to let them fight, and then you pull them apart… We want a pause and the Kurds have been terrific. They’re going to move back a little bit… Without a little tough love, there would have never made this deal… Turkey‘s going to be happy, the Kurds are going to be happy, ISIS is going to be unhappy.”
Oct 17, 2019 -

Factbase, Oct 17, 2019
Donald Trump Holds a Political Rally in Dallas, Texas

(retrieved 10/17/19)
“It’s now time to bring our soldiers home. And it’s very interesting, that little fight for two day, vicious stuff. I don’t know that Turkey would have done what they did, like a ceasefire. And I don’t know that the Kurds would have moved out…but it’s like two kids in a playground, they fight — you let them fight for a minute and then you pull apart. It was much easier to make a deal.”
Oct 21, 2019 -

Fox News (via Factbase), Oct 21, 2019
Sean Hannity Interviews Donald Trump at The White House

(retrieved 10/21/19)

“Over the last five days, you have seen that a ceasefire that we established along Syria’s border has held, and it’s held very well, beyond most expectations. Early this morning, the government of Turkey informed my administration that they would be stopping combat and their offensive in Syria, and making the ceasefire permanent… I have therefore instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to lift all sanctions imposed on October 14th in response to Turkey’s original offensive moves against the Kurds in Syria’s northeast border region…

“We’ve secured the oil, and, therefore, a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil. And we’re going to be protecting it…

“Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds, have been fighting for centuries. We have done them a great service, and we’ve done a great job for all of them. And now we’re getting out… Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand

“Countless lives are now being saved as a result of our negotiation with Turkey… we’ve saved the lives of many, many Kurds.”<'p>

“Today’s announcement validates our course of action with Turkey that only a couple of weeks ago were scorned, and now people are saying, ‘Wow. What a great outcome. Congratulations.’
Oct 23, 2019 -

White House, Oct 23, 2019
Remarks by President Trump on the Situation in Northern Syria

(retrieved 10/24/19)
starts at beginning

“Perhaps it is time for the Kurds to start heading to the Oil Region!”
Turkey fully understands not to fire on the Kurds as they leave what will be known as the Safe Zone for other fairly nearby areas. I don’t have to repeat that large scale Sanctions will be imposed for violations. Going well! ISIS secured by Kurds with Turkey ready as backup.”

“I think it’s great [that we withdrew from the Kurdish border zone].

“Look, we don’t want to keep soldiers between Syria and Turkey for the next 200 years. They have been fighting for hundreds of years. We’re out. But we are leaving soldiers to secure the oil. Now, we may have to fight for the oil. That’s OK…

“So we don’t want to be keeping Syria and Turkey — they’re going to have to make their own decision. The Kurds have worked along incredibly with us, but, in all fairness, it was much easier dealing with the Kurds after they went through three days of fighting, because that was a brutal three days. And if I — we would have said to the Kurds, do you mind moving over seven miles? Because they were in the middle, mostly. So you have seven or eight miles. Could you mind moving over?

“Because, I have to say, Turkey has taken tremendous deaths from that part of the world. You know, we call it a safe zone, but it was anything but a safe zone. Turkey has lost thousands and thousands of people from that safe zone. So they have always wanted that safe zone for many years. I’m glad I was able to help them get it. But we don’t want to be there. We want to be home. I want our soldiers home or fighting something that’s meaningful…

“The oil is, you know, so valuable…we should be able to take some also. And what I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly… But no, we’re protecting the oil, we’re securing the oil… I want to bring our soldiers back home, but I do want to secure the oil.
Oct 28, 2019 -

Washington Post, Oct 28, 2019
Trump’s news conference on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death, annotated

(retrieved 11/1/19)
starts at 28:25

#DonaldTrump 1/2/19: "The Kurds, our partners…we want to protect the Kurds." » #Trump 10/11/19: "Turkey and the Kurds have been fighting for hundreds of years. We are out of there." Click To Tweet

“You have given up on us. You are leaving us to be slaughtered. You are not willing to protect the people, but you do not want another force to come and protect us. You have sold us. This is immoral. I need to know if you are capable of protecting my people, of stopping these bombs falling on us or not. I need to know, because if you’re not, I need to make a deal with Russia and the regime now and invite their planes to protect this region.”

– General Mazloum Kobani Abdi, Commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Oct 10, 20191CNN, Oct 12, 2019
Exclusive: Military leader of Syrian Kurds tells US ‘you are leaving us to be slaughtered’
retrieved 10/12/19

“I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul and it’s a tremendously successful job. It’s called Trump Towers — two towers instead of one, not the usual one, it’s two.”

Donald Trump, Dec 1, 20152Breitbart (via Factbase), Dec 1, 2015
Interview: Steve Bannon Interviews Donald Trump on Breitbart News Daily – December 1, 2015
retrieved 10/12/19