Defense Secretary James Mattis has 'knocked the hell' out of ISIS says Trump - but only because 'I've made it possible with what I've let you do'

  • Trump exalted Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday for the near-complete decimation of ISIS in Iraq and Syria
  • President gave himself a pat on the back in the process for lending the Pentagon chief support: 'Of course I've made it possible with what I've let you do'
  • Iraqi officials declared the last ISIS-held town, Rawah, located 175 miles northwest of Baghdad, liberated in mid-November?
  • Trump said the U.S. must be ever-vigilant against ISIS and its affiliates; 'They go all over the place...Tell them to stay wherever the hell they are'
  • Said his extreme vetting measures are necesssary to prevent 'radical Islamic terrorism'

President Donald Trump exalted Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday for the near-complete decimation of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, giving himself a pat on the back in the process for lending the Pentagon chief support.?

'He's knocked the hell out of them,' Trump said during a cabinet meeting where Mattis was his left-hand man. 'Of course I've made it possible with what I've let you do, I think. Wouldn't you say?'

Laughter from Trump's secretaries and staff followed as he reiterated that Mattis 'has done a fantastic job' hollowing out the vicious terrorist group.

President Donald Trump exalted Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday for the near-complete decimation of ISIS in Iraq and Syria , giving himself a pat on the back in the process for lending the Pentagon chief support

President Donald Trump exalted Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday for the near-complete decimation of ISIS in Iraq and Syria , giving himself a pat on the back in the process for lending the Pentagon chief support

Iraqi officials declared the last ISIS-held town, Rawah, located 175 miles northwest of Baghdad, liberated in mid-November. Coalition forces aided in the blitz, providing intelligence, airstrikes and assistance from advisers, a spokesman for the U.S.-led group said.

Since the retaking of Raqqa, ISIS' capital in Syria, in October, the U.S. had claimed it was only a matter of time for the terror group to totally fall.

'Once purported as fierce, now pathetic and a lost cause, said special presidential envoy?Brett McGurk.?

At the White House on Wednesday, Trump celebrated the terror group's defeat before he issued a warning that 'radical Islamic terrorism' is still a serious threat to national security as he talked about his extreme vetting measures.

'I want to thank General Mattis for doing such a great job with respect to ISIS,' Trump said. 'He and the military have done a fantastic job with ISIS. They're essentially knocked out of Syria, knocked out of Iraq. That's the good news.'

A convoy of US forces armoured vehicles drives near the village of Yalanli, on the western outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Manbij in March. Mattis 'knocked the hell' out of ISIS, President Trump said during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday

A convoy of US forces armoured vehicles drives near the village of Yalanli, on the western outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Manbij in March. Mattis 'knocked the hell' out of ISIS, President Trump said during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday

Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) run across a street in Raqqa, Syria in July.?Since the retaking of Raqqa, ISIS' capital in Syria, in October, the U.S. had claimed it was only a matter of time for the terror group to totally fall

Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) run across a street in Raqqa, Syria in July.?Since the retaking of Raqqa, ISIS' capital in Syria, in October, the U.S. had claimed it was only a matter of time for the terror group to totally fall

Trump said the U.S. must be ever-vigilant against ISIS and its affiliates.

'They go all over the place. And I'll tell you where we don’t want them: We don’t want them here. We don’t want them in our country,' he said. 'Tell them to stay wherever the hell they are. We don’t want them coming back into our country.?

The president said, 'They do go back into some countries. We don’t want them going into our country. So we're watching that closely.'

At the end of November, the Associated Press reported on 'a trickle' of ISIS fighters returning to Europe following the erosion of the caliphate.

The European Union's counter-terrorism coordinator,?Gilles de Kerchove, said a massive flow had been feared but most fighters were retreating to areas with 'weak governance,' namely Libya and Afghanistan, where the U.S. already has a contingent of forces, and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

'With no physical 'caliphate' anymore, it will be much more difficult for the organization to repeat what they have done and attract so many people,' de Kerchove said. 'That does not mean that the game is over.'?

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