Days after losing the 2020 election, then-President Donald Trump ordered a massive military withdrawal of U.S. troops from several countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, according to Axios.
John McEntee, one of Donald Trump’s most-favored aides, handed retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor a piece of paper with a few notes scribbled on it. He explained: “This is what the president wants you to do.”
1. Get us out of Afghanistan.
2. Get us out of Iraq and Syria.
3. Complete the withdrawal from Germany.
4. Get us out of Africa.
It was Nov. 9, 2020 — days after Trump lost his re-election bid, 10 weeks before the end of his presidency and just moments after Macgregor was offered a post as senior adviser to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.
Macgregor reportedly told McEntee that it was doubtful these withdrawals could be accomplished prior to Jan. 20, when Trump would leave office, leading McEntee to respond: “Then do as much as you can.”
In Macgregor’s opinion, Miller probably couldn’t act on his own authority to execute a total withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan because he was serving in an acting capacity. If this was for real, Macgregor told McEntee, then it was going to need an order from the president.
The one-page memo was delivered by courier to Christopher Miller’s office two days later, on the afternoon of Nov. 11. The order arrived seemingly out of nowhere, and its instructions, signed by Trump, were stunning: All U.S. military forces were to be withdrawn from Somalia by Dec. 31, 2020. All U.S. forces were to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Jan. 15, 2021.
Image credit: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour / Public Domain