During his address to a special joint session of Congress Tuesday, President Donald Trump vowed to use his position as commander in chief to eradicate the Islamic State terrorist group and work with America’s “friends and allies in the Muslim world” to combat radical Islamic terrorism.
“The vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside the country,” the President noted, asserting that his administration would modify immigration procedures to ensure that officials identify individuals with ties to terrorist organizations before they enter the country. “It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur,” the President said, vowing “strong measures to protect our nation from radical Islamic terrorism”
“We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America,” he continued. “We cannot allow our Nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.”
Among the first actions President Trump took during his first month in office was a temporary ban on entry for citizens from seven nations with significant security deficits. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, President Trump’s administration asserted, suffered either from chaotic, war-torn infrastructure decay or systematic government oppression, such that their evaluations of citizens attempting to enter the United States could not be trusted. The move proved controversial, and the White House has vowed to implement an updated version after courts struck down the executive order earlier this month.
President Trump also mentioned the next steps in the war against the Islamic State in the group’s strongholds in the Middle East. Trump referred to the terrorist group as “a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs.”
“We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet,” he promised.
Cooperating with heads of state in the Middle East who are looking for an ally in the United States has been a priority for many within the Trump administration. Speaking with Breitbart News last week, Deputy Assistant to the President and former Breitbart News National Security editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka vowed that President Trump would reach out to two major Muslim allies in particular: Egypt and Jordan.
“This administration’s going to help the Jordanians, help the Egyptians, help them fight this war,” Dr. Gorka said, adding that ignoring the doctrinal roots of radical Islam hurts “Muslims who are on the front lines with the jihadis” the most.
Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has repeatedly called for an Islamic “reformation” and challenges within the Muslim community against radical Islamic clerics and terrorist recruiters, most notably in a 2015 speech calling for a “religious revolution” against those who use Islam to condone violence.
Similarly, Jordan’s King Abdullah II has warned that the world has already entered a third World War against the “outlaws of Islam.” Speaking to the United Nations in 2015, he urged leaders in the Middle East, in particular, to “amplify the voice of moderation” against the organized propaganda efforts of groups like the Islamic State. Visiting the new Trump administration in late January, Abdullah reportedly urged the Trump administration to take a harder line against radical Islam than its predecessor.
President Trump began his remarks tonight acknowledging Black History Month, and “condemning hate in all its forms” in reaction to a series of attacks and threats on Jewish institutions in the past week.
Read President Trump’s full prepared remarks for Tuesday’s Joint Session of Congress here.