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Trump told aide to read tweets to lawmakers skeptical of Syria pullout



President Donald Trump sent shockwaves through the Pentagon and Washington’s foreign policy community in December when he abruptly announced a plan to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Syria — a move that reportedly prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

In a meeting shortly therarefter, Trump got the man who helps run his Twitter account to read out tweets in an attempt to convince skeptical lawmakers of the plan’s popularity, according to Politico.

“Get Dan Scavino in here,” Trump reportedly said at the meeting in reference to his senior advisor for digital strategy. “Tell them how popular my policy is.”

Read more: The guy who runs Trump’s social media is the staffer who’s been around the longest — he started as Trump’s caddie — but rumors are swirling he could be leaving soon

Scavino then told lawmakers of the apparently positive reaction he’d “picked up on social media” following Trump’s announcement, according to what two people with knowledge of the exchange told Politico.

The president’s relationship with Scavino dates back to 1990, when his future social media director was hand-picked to be Trump’s caddie.

Read more: There’s now just one person in the White House who has been by Trump’s side since Day 1 of his campaign

Scavino is reportedly among the most well-liked people in Trump’s chaotic administration, which has seen record levels of turnover. In a tense environment typified by frequent departures, Scavino has maintained both his job and a close relationship with the president.

In particular, Scavino plays a key role in shaping Trump’s Twitter.

“Oftentimes, I’ll go through Dan,” Trump told Politico. “You know, I’ll talk it over. And he can really be a very good sounding board. A lot of common sense. He’s got a good grasp.”

“When I was running, I knew that Hillary had 28 people — and I had Dan. … They used to say that we ran an unsophisticated campaign. And after we won, they said we ran one of the most sophisticated campaigns ever,” Trump added.

Read more: How the Trump administration got into a showdown with Iran that could lead to war

Trump’s Syria pullout has been particularly unpopular among Republican lawmakers concerned about creating a vacuum that would allow for the resurgence of the Islamic State group, or ISIS.

The US still has troops in Syria after Trump backtracked on his initial plan to withdraw all 2,000 US service members from the country, but is still working toward cutting down the number stationed there.

The Syria Study Group, a congressionally mandated panel of experts, in a recent interim report to Congress has warned lawmakers against supporting a plan to pull US troops out of Syria over concerns about the resurgence of ISIS as well as Iran’s desire to expand its influence.

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