President Donald Trump vowed to give unprecedented backing to the U.S. intelligence community in the war on radical Islam during his first speech as president at CIA headquarters.
Trump reiterated a line from his inaugural address, saying the U.S. should “eradicate radical Islamic terrorism.” He insinuated that the CIA’s full potential was not put to use by the Obama administration in the war against Islamic State. “We haven’t used our real abilities,” he said, and flatly declared, “we have to get rid of ISIS.”
He reiterated the critical role intelligence plays in military operations, saying that better analysis on ISIS will save U.S. soldiers’ lives.
Repeatedly, Trump criticized the Obama administration’s policy on Iraq for withdrawing troops in 2011. Trump indicated he believes radical Islamic terrorism poses a major threat to the U.S. because of the “inter-related nature” of the havoc it wreaks on society. Former President Barack Obama sought to portray ISIS as a threat to the U.S., but would frequently say it was not “existential” to the West. Obama cited the figures of everyday causes of death to Americans in comparison to those killed by Islamic terrorist attacks.
Trump also discussed the nomination of Rep. Mike Pompeo for CIA Director, and criticized Congress for holding up a vote on his appointment late Friday.
He declared that he is a stalwart supporter of the intelligence community, and faulted the media for creating a narrative of spat between himself and the agencies, saying that the media are “among the most dishonest human beings on this earth.” He insinuated at certain points in the presidential transition that the CIA and broader intelligence community played a role in releasing a salacious intelligence dossier on him, including saying that the tactics harkened back to those of Nazi Germany.