President Donald Trump took a triumphant victory lap Sunday as he announced the ‘obliteration’ of the world’s top ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He praised U.S. Special Operations Forces for bringing “the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader to justice.”
“He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,” said Trump. “He had dragged three of his young children with him. They faced certain death…He died like a dog” Trump declared.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of the Islamic State, was killed after a U.S. special operations mission targeted him at a compound in northwest Syria. Al-Baghdadi took over ISIS after his predecessor Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was killed in 2010.
The president said he watched the operation from the White House Situation Room beginning at 5 p.m. The mission began shortly after they convened and continued for about two hours.
Assistant to the President Dan Scavino said he was accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley, and Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations.
Trump hinted at the struggle the administration faces as it tries to fight terror while battling a toxic, hateful Democratic congressional majority, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
He did not notify Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff or members of the House Intelligence Committee about the imminent raid to take down al-Baghdadi.
“I wanted to make sure this was kept secret. I don’t want to have men lost and women. I don’t want to have people lost,” Trump said.
He told reporters only select Congressional leaders were notified during the attack to prevent potentially damaging leaks that could put U.S. forces in danger ahead of the risky, delicate mission. They included Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, and Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“We notified some. Others are being notified now as we speak. We were going to notify them last night but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like we’ve never seen it before. There’s no country in the world that leaks like we do. And Washington is a leaking machine.” said Trump.
He also took a swipe at the debacle he faces with insiders hell bent on leaking information from his calls with world leaders to bolster Democrats’ case for their long planned impeachment proceedings.
“We were pretty much gathered at 5 o’clock (p.m.) yesterday. We were in contact all day long through hopefully secure phones. I’ll let you know tomorrow, but nothing seemed to leak so I guess they were secure for a change,” said Trump.
Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump’s epic snub of Pelosi during an interview on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace.
“Does the president not trust the speaker of the House with sensitive national security information?” Wallace asked.
“I don’t think that was the implication at all,” Pence said. “I think from the time we got actionable intelligence, the president’s total focus here was on a successful mission and the safety of American troops.”
Pence insisted that Trump’s focus was on the execution of a critical and dangerous mission: “I just want to emphasize the president’s focus here, throughout, particularly, the last several days, was on the mission to bring a man who was the most wanted man in the world, a man who had brought unspeakable violence through the ISIS caliphate, who was exporting violence throughout the world, to justice.”
University of Alabama Law Professor and MSNBC Contributor Joyce Alene tweeted Sunday: “Unprecedented & dangerous for a president not to advise the gang of 8. But to accuse the Speaker like this is unworthy of the office he holds. That warrants bipartisan censure.”
The fireworks in al-Baghdadi’s compound will be nothing compared to those that Democrats will set off in Washington after the president they revile had the brazenness to exclude them from participating in the historic killing of the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader.