'Dumbest president ever': Trump mocked for noting Kurdish absence in Second World War
US President Donald Trump has raised eyebrows by explaining away his decision to allow his Kurdish allies to be attacked by noting their absence on the beaches of France's Normandy at the end of the Second World War.
Trump has been heavily criticised for stepping aside for a Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria against Kurdish groups the US had allied with to fight the Islamic State group.
But on Wednesday he hit back, by apparently referring to a rightwing columnist's article citing the times Kurds did not support the US in wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan - none of which had any Kurdish involvement.
"They're fighting for their land, just so you understand," Trump said, referring to the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia based in northern Syria. "They didn't help us in the Second World War, they didn't help us in Normandy... but they're to help us with their land."
"We have spent tremendous amounts of money on helping the Kurds," he said. "With all of that being said, we like the Kurds."
Social media users reacted with shock, accusing him of abandoning the Kurds and pointing out how he himself avoided the military draft during the Vietnam War.
The US joined the coalition against Nazi Germany in 1941, two years after the Second World War began, after its forces were attacked at Pearl Harbour by Germany's ally Japan.
"Sorry we couldn’t come to help you in Normandy in 1944, as much as we probably would have liked it. Perhaps visa issue. History rewritten by Trump," tweeted Dilshad M H Sharif, a former political adviser in the parliament of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
Daily Beast journalist Will Sommer pointed out that Trump was likely referring to an article published Wednesday on Townhall, a rightwing website that publishes pro-Trump content.
Trump's decision has faced criticism not only from the opposition but also his own Republican party, where many believe the US has abandoned a key ally.
Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group and says its incursion into northwestern Syria is intended to push the group away from its borders, where they established a strong presence during the Syrian war.