PAT ON THE BACK

Trump Credits Himself With Defeat of ISIS in Raqqa

President Trump on Saturday hailed the defeat of ISIS in Raqqa as a “critical breakthrough” and credited his administration with making the victory happen. The president’s comments came after U.S.-backed forces said Friday they had fully liberated Raqqa, the former self-proclaimed capital of ISIS in Syria. Coalition forces had been battling to retake the city from ISIS since June. “With the liberation of ISIS’s capital and the vast majority of its territory, the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight,” Trump said in a statement released Saturday. “One of my core campaign promises to the American people was to defeat ISIS and to counter the spread of hateful ideology,” he said. Trump went on to say, “ISIS strongholds in Mosul and Raqqa” have been liberated “as a result” of orders he gave to U.S. commanders during his first days in office. “We have made, alongside our coalition partners, more progress against these evil terrorists in the past several months than in the past several years,” he said. On Friday, former Defense Secretary Ash Carter told CNN the plan to retake Raqqa from ISIS was actually laid out two years ago, “and has been executed pretty much in the manner and the schedule that was foreseen then.”