Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro left President Donald Trump out of his congratulatory statement upon news Sunday that U.S. forces had killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the so-called “Islamic State,” or ISIS.
Castro joined former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in pointedly excluding Trump:
A ruthless murderer has been brought to justice. I’m grateful to our military and intelligence community. Their courage and dedication inspire us all.
Abandoning our Syrian and Kurdish partners remains a disastrous decision that will make the fight against ISIS harder.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) October 27, 2019
I congratulate our special forces, our intelligence community, and all our brave military professionals on delivering justice to the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The world is better and safer without him in it. pic.twitter.com/miLSVWBT9l
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 27, 2019
Both Biden and Castro used their statements to criticize President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the Turkey-Syria border, and from Syria more generally. Castro’s language was even more passive.
Other candidates were slow to acknowledge the successful raid, in which no American soldiers were killed or injured, aside from a K-9 dog involved in the operation.
Trump told reporters that he had excluded certain congressional leaders from being briefed in advance of the raid for fear that leaks in Washington might tip off the terrorists, endanger U.S. forces, and undermine the success of the operation.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.