President Donald Trump spoke to reporters on Wednesday for about 15 minutes before boarding Marine One from the White House en route to Dallas, Texas. He was asked about the military operation in Niger on October 4
Trump said he didn’t “specifically” order the operation in Niger on October 4 that killed four U.S. soldiers.
Trump’s comments about the deadly operation in Niger begin at the 8-minute mark.
Here is the exchange, which took place on the White House lawn:
Q: What can you tell us about the mission in Niger and what went wrong?
TRUMP: “Well, we’re going to look at it. Now, I have to say we are decimating ISIS in the Middle East. What’s happening is they’ll go to parts of Africa, they’ll go to other places. When they get there, we meet them. It’s a dangerous business, I have to say. It’s a dangerous business.”
Q: Did you order the mission?
TRUMP: “No I didn’t. Not specifically. I have generals that are great generals. THese are great fighters. These are warriors.”
Q: Did you give them authority?
TRUMP: “I gave them authority to do what’s right so that we win. That’s the authority they have. I want to win and we’re going to win and we’re beating ISIS very badly. You look at what’s happened in the Middle East, we have done more in eight months than the previous administration has done in many years.
Now what happens is you decimate them and that’s what we’ve done, we’ve decimated ISIS in the Middle East. They go to Africa, they go to places. When they get there, we meet them there. That’s what goes on. It’s a tough business, it’s a tough war, but we are winning it and you know what? We’re going to continue winning it
With that being said, my generals and my military, they have decision-making ability. As far as the incident that we’re talking about, I’ve been seeing it just like you’ve been seeing it. I’ve been getting reports. They have to meet the enemy and they meet them tough and that’s what happens.”
Marine One can be seen in the background as Trump prepares to leave for Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to board Air Force One to Dallas, Texas, where he will get a hurricane relief update after Hurricane Harvey hit the state in late August and speak at a Trump rally.