MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE (Florida) • US President Donald Trump vowed on Monday that America and its allies would defeat the "forces of death" and keep radical militants from gaining a foothold on US soil, but did not offer details about his strategy to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
In his first visit to US Central Command (Centcom) - responsible for an area that includes the Middle East and Central Asia - Mr Trump also did not say whether he would scrap parts of the anti-ISIS mission in Iraq and Syria undertaken by predecessor Barack Obama.
"Today, we deliver a message in one very unified voice to these forces of death and destruction - America and its allies will defeat you. We will defeat them," he told about 300 military personnel at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
"We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism. And we will not allow it to take root in our country," he added. "Freedom, security and justice will prevail." Mr Trump accused ISIS fighters of leading a "campaign of genocide, committing atrocities across the world" and promised an unspecified "historic financial investment" in the US military.
"Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston and Orlando to San Bernardino, and all across Europe," added the President.
He claimed that the "very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report" on certain attacks, without offering any corroborating evidence to back up his allegation. "They have their reasons," he said, without explaining further.
Mr Trump made fighting "radical Islamic terrorism" a central plank of his election campaign, and the issue is emerging as the organising principle of his foreign and domestic policies.
Centcom plays a key role in Operation Inherent Resolve - the US-led mission to "degrade and defeat" ISIS. A total of 17,861 strikes have been launched across northern Syria and Iraq since August 2016 under the mission.
Freedom, security and justice will prevail.
US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, on defeating radical Islamic terrorism and not allowing it to take root in the US. He was speaking to 300 military personnel.
Late last month, Mr Trump ordered generals to begin a 30-day review of the US strategy to defeat ISIS. He visited Centcom on his way back to Washington following a three-day break at his Mar-a-Lago estate in southern Florida.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Mr Trump's priority of fighting Islamist fundamentalists led by ISIS was promising but it was too early to expect stronger steps, state news agency Sana reported yesterday.
ATTACKING THE PRESS
...very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report (on certain attacks).
MR TRUMP, on how the press withholds coverage on terrorist attacks. He did not offer evidence to back up his allegation.
Mr Assad was also quoted telling Belgian reporters that US-Russian cooperation in stepping up the fight against the militants would have positive repercussions. "I believe this is promising but we have to wait and it's too early to expect anything practical," he said.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS