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Trump tells Turkey's president 'Don't be a tough guy' in letter

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Posted at 9:02 PM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-16 21:03:31-04

(NBC NEWS/LEX 18) — In a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Donald Trump told Erdogan to not "be a tough guy" or "a fool" as forces launched their attack on northern Syria, according to NBC News.

The letter was addressed on October 9 and began with this: "Dear Mr. President, Let's work out a good deal! You don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don't want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy - and I will."

Trump goes on to talk about the commander of the Kurdish forces and said they are "willing to negotiate: with Erdogan.

The letter ends with Trump writing, "I will call you later."

According to NBC News, the letter was first reported by Fox Business Network. NBC News reported that the White House official confirmed the letter's contents.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Trump handed out copies of the letter during a meeting with Congressional leaders on Wednesday.

"The president is always tough at the wrong times," said Schumer. "He should have been tough on the phone with Erdogan, not in a letter after he already green-lit Erdogan's invasion of Syria."

According to NBC News, the letter was written the same day that the Turkish military started attacking Kurdish forces who had helped the U.S. fight against ISIS.

Trump said in a press conference with Italy's president on Wednesday that he did not give Turkey a "green light" to start attacking.

On October 6, this statement was issued by the White House:

"Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey by telephone. Turkey will soon by moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria. The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and the United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial 'Caliphate,' will no longer be in the immediate area."

Read the full letter below: