In a speech before a group of veterans and evangelical Christians at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump told the audience that his administration was committed to pursuing the destruction of the Islamic State group.
During the speech, the president also drew a sharp difference between his administration’s strategy and that of the Obama administration, according to The Daily Caller.
Trump’s remarks came on the same day that American-backed forces entered the Syrian city of Raqqa for the first time, the London Guardian reported.
“It’s a whole different ball game folks,” Trump said of his administration’s efforts pursuing the terrorist group.
“One of the greatest threats to religious liberty is terrorism, and specifically radical Islamic terrorism. We cannot allow this terrorism and extremism to spread in our country or find sanctuary on our shores or in our cities.”
Trump also praised the work of Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis, a man who he’s given wide latitude to prosecute the war.
“We’ve got some Pattons today too, I found ’em … Mad Dog Mattis,” the president said, referring to World War II Gen. George Patton.
Mattis, of course, has had some help — namely, in the form of President Trump staying out of his way. Trump has allowed Mattis to set engagement rules and troop levels in the region — a major difference, the Caller noted, from the Obama administration’s decision to run the mission from the White House instead of the Pentagon.
“I was left a mess,” the president said of the Obama administration’s handling of the conflict, while adding that he was “cleaning it up.”
While it remains to be seen whether that’s the case, coalition forces have made huge gains in the last two major Islamic State strongholds — Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq. That’s a pretty good sign that the administration can follow through on the epic promise it just made to veterans.
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