Following President Donald Trump’s Sunday morning announcement that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed during a raid on Saturday, most people seemed happy to hear the news.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
I applaud President Trump’s announcement that U.S. special forces have eliminated ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The world’s most wanted man has been brought to justice. The world is a safer place today.
This victory for the U.S. and our many counterterrorism partners is a significant step for the campaign against ISIS, for the future of the Middle East, and for the safety of the American people and free people around the world.
A victory like this is only possible because of the expertise, skill, and courage of those who work to keep the United States safe. I am grateful for the intelligence professionals who laid the groundwork for this raid, for the brave American servicemembers who risked everything to carry it out, and to President Trump and his team for their leadership.
While we welcome the fact that al-Baghdadi has been brought to justice, we know we cannot underestimate the resilience of terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda. The important counterterrorism work of the United States, our international coalition partners, and local forces will not end with this significant victory. To the contrary, history shows us how vital it is to keep building on this victory and continue our work to set the conditions for the enduring defeat of ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorists in Syria, in Afghanistan, and around the world.
House Ranking Member Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released the following statement, praising the military for their work:
This morning’s announcement should confirm for the world what many already knew—that terrorists cannot outlast or outmatch the commitment of the U.S. counter-terrorism apparatus. We will not stop or waver in destroying terrorist leaders wherever they hide.
May God bless the men and women in our military who protect us and make us proud every day with their efforts and achievements in continuing the fight against terrorism.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) released the following statement, congratulating the military and President Trump:
The mission that took out ISIS leader al-Baghdadi is a major victory in America’s war against terror.
I congratulate our military’s special operations force, as well as President Trump, for directing this raid that took out the head of ISIS. This sends a powerful message that the United States will seek justice against anyone who seeks to reign terror against America.
And then Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a ridiculous statement slamming President Trump for his decision to pull troops out of northern Syria (emphasis mine):
Americans salute the heroism, dedication and skill of our military and our intelligence professionals and acknowledge the work of our partners in the region. We are relieved that no U.S. personnel died in this daring raid.
The death of al-Baghdadi is significant, but the death of this ISIS leader does not mean the death of ISIS. Scores of ISIS fighters remain under uncertain conditions in Syrian prisons, and countless others in the region and around the world remain intent on spreading their influence and committing acts of terror.
This month, the House passed a joint resolution on an overwhelmingly bipartisan 354-60 basis which rejects President Trump’s green-lighting of Turkish aggression into Syria against our Kurdish partners, and calls on him to present a clear strategy to defeat ISIS. The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified of in advance, and on the Administration’s overall strategy in the region. Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.
Pelosi is angry that her caucus wasn’t briefed on the operation before it took place. Trump said he didn’t brief Congress beforehand because he wanted the element of surprise and Washington is famous for leaks. He had a point. Congress knew nothing and the military had the element of surprise on their side, which kept our troops safe.