After President Trump announced the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a top-secret raid, Sen. Graham spoke at the White House press briefing and thanked the president for killing the ISIS leader and destroying the caliphate.
Graham said he was very encouraged with what he sees in Syria. He characterized the president's strategy in the war on terror as "Maybe a new strategy that focuses on building up the lives of people in the region." Graham explained, "having a small footprint of Americans led by the local populations and securing the oil is a really smart idea... That's how ISIS survived so long," he explained.
Graham then credited President Trump for destroying the caliphate. "When it comes to terrorism, the president changed the rules of engagement. You think the caliphate destroyed itself? He made a conscious decision when he went to Iraq to change the game when it came to destroying ISIS. He's had a determination to destroy the caliphate, unlike anybody I've ever met," Graham said.
He also described Baghdadi's killing as a "game-changer" and remarked that President Trump was able to destroy the caliphate in months not years. "The killing of Baghdadi is a game-changer in the war on terror. It doesn't mean the war is over. The president's determination over time has paid off. We don't give him enough credit for destroying the caliphate. He did this in months not years because he changed the rules of engagement," Graham said.
The senator wanted to talk about "the brave men and women who planned the operation, who went in on the ground and killed this bastard," but reporters in the briefing room wanted to know more about his comments regarding taking oil out of the hands of terrorists.