CNN’s Jake Tapper questioned Sunday whether President Donald Trump’s harsh criticism of the late ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi might galvanize the terror organization.
During a segment of “State of the Union,” which aired late due to live coverage of the president’s remarks, Tapper and Republican Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry discussed both the raid that had killed al-Baghdadi just hours earlier and the president’s official confirmation of the ISIS leader’s demise.
Tapper referenced Trump’s announcement — during which he had made the point several times that al-Baghdadi had been “whimpering and crying” as he reportedly dragged three of his own young children along with him into the dead-end tunnel where he eventually detonated his own suicide vest — and wondered whether repeatedly hammering that point might serve to galvanize those the terrorist leader had left behind.
“Lastly, what do you make of the president’s — he painted a very vivid picture of al Baghdadi dying a very cowardly death, which I don’t doubt for a second, ISIS fighters are very cowardly,” Tapper began. “He talked about al-Baghdadi detonating his vest, killing his three children while he did so. I don’t doubt it, they’re monsters, but is there any concern on your part because now there is a question what ISIS will do in response to this move, in response perhaps to the president’s rhetoric. Does that concern you at all in terms of galvanizing or motivating ISIS terrorists?” (RELATED: Trump Details ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s Last Moments)
While Thornberry conceded that the tone of Trump’s comments had made him “a little uncomfortable,” he said that the president may have had a valid reason for painting such a graphic picture of what had happened.
“If you can take a little bit of the glamour off al-Baghdadi and make him less inspirational, there is a value to that for all of these folks who are on their computers or in these networks looking to attack,” he said, noting that there were those who held al-Baghdadi up as an example and an inspiration, pointing out the fact that learning of his cowardice could help to shatter that illusion.
Thornberry added, “So the United States is going to be tested in the days to come, and as you know, one of my big concerns is we’ve only funded the military for about 25 more days. The dysfunction in Washington is translating into doing real damage to our military, who we depend on and are so proud of, for things like this.”