The fight against the Islamic State is being pursued with renewed vigor, President Donald Trump assured a Saturday night crowd of veterans and evangelical Christians at the Kennedy Center.
“It’s a whole different ball game folks,” Trump said of the renewed U.S. effort against the terrorist group. The president also hailed his own decision to select Secretary of Defense James Mattis, likening the former U.S. General to that of famed U.S. World War II hero Gen. George Patton. “We’ve got some Pattons today too, I found em….Mad Dog Mattis,” the president declared.
Trump’s remarks come amid a U.S. backed push on ISIS’s capital of Raqqa, Syria, and the final phases of the Iraqi Security Forces’ push on the city of Mosul. Trump has granted Mattis extraordinary powers in the fight against ISIS, including the ability to set troop levels and adjust the rules of engagement. The decisions mark a sharp departure from the policies of former President Barack Obama, who tightly managed the wars from the White House.
Trump alluded to Obama’s past tenure repeating a similar refrain that “I was left a mess,” but assured the crowd that he was “cleaning it up.” The president also highlighted the threat of ISIS and other radical Islamic extremist groups to Christian minorities in the Middle East.
“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 said.