(CNSNews.com) - Howls of protest emerged from Capitol Hill following President Trump's announcement that it's time for U.S. troops -- around 2,000 of them -- to get out of Syria.
But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called it a "very bold move."
While other Republicans want the U.S. to be the world's policeman, President Trump promised to put America first, Paul told Fox News on Thursday:
"All of the naysayers in Washington will be against him. But guess what, if you ask the American people, this is why President Trump won the election," the senator said.
In one of his Thursday morning tweets, President Trump wrote, "Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer. Russia, Iran, Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS. We were doing there (sic) work. Time to come home & rebuild."
Paul said he doesn't think Trump is pulling U.S. troops out of Syria just to save money that could be spent on a border wall.
"I don't think that's the intention," he said:
I think that we have won the war against ISIS. We've taken back 99% of the land. The upper hand is with the people that live there. And ultimately, self-determination is about the people who live there standing up and fighting.
We spent trillions of dollars over there, for goodness sakes. Should the Iraqis now stand up and defend their territory? Should the Kurds defend their territory? Absolutely. But we should not always have to fight everyone else's battle and pay for it.
But can any money be shifted to a wall? I don't think that's the purpose. But I've advised the president for some time now that we're spending $50 billion a year in Afghanistan and we should declare victory, come home from Afghanistan, and that money would be and could be used for the wall.
Host Bill Hemmer asked Paul about the "possibility of a power vacuum" in Syria that Iran might fill, putting U.S. allies in the region -- Israel and Saudi Arabia -- at risk.
Paul said Syria is a mess, but "we didn't create that mess." He said Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama got the U.S. involved Syria's civil war, "and at the time, Republicans were actually more unified in saying, hey wait a minute -- they were saying, like Senator Lee is saying, we didn't vote for war in Syria.
"What you really need now, and if you talk to the generals, not one of them will say there's a military solution over there. We need to get together with Russia, with Iraq, with Iran, with Turkey, with all of the players, with Syria and we need to have a peace negotiated now. Because no one is going to completely win that war."
Paul said it's up to the people who live in the region to prevent ISIS from reorganizing: "Look, we have people struggling in our country -- struggling to make a living, struggling on bad roads and bad schools. Let's take care of America first, and let's not say that we have to rebuild every other country and that we have to send our soldiers into harm's way in every country and that we're never coming home."
In two other tweets on Thursday, President Trump echoed some of Paul's thinking:
Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing? Do we want to be there forever? Time for others to finally fight.....
....Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy about the U.S. leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us. I am building by far the most powerful military in the world. ISIS hits us they are doomed!