Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine drew swift backlash when he declared Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the fight against the Islamic State has “dramatically improved” since 2015.
The Virginia senator’s remarks came the same weekend as several terror-linked attacks hit the country. On Saturday night, a knife-wielding man stabbed at least eight people in a Minnesota mall in the name of Allah. The Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the attack. Also on Saturday evening, an explosion in Chelsea, New York injured 29 people. Gov. Andrew Cuomo later said called the explosion a bombing that “is obviously an act of terrorism.”
“We have dramatically improved in the last year, and the proof is in how much ground ISIS has lost.”
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Another explosion Saturday morning rocked the site of a road race to benefit wounded Marines on the Jersey shore, investigators are still looking into possible terror-links and fortunately no one was injured.
Despite the slew of terrorism and ISIS related incidents Clinton’s running mate seemed to think everything was fine.
“We have dramatically improved in the last year, and the proof is in how much ground ISIS has lost,” Kaine told host Jake Tapper.
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“A year ago, I think you remember, we had a small force that we were trying to put into Syria, and the opening of that was an abysmal failure,” Kaine added. “But now we are taking the fight to ISIS to defeat them and to destroy them. And if you look at what’s happened in the last year, ISIS’s territory has dramatically shrunk because of a significant uptick in cooperation between the US, the Iraqi military, the Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, the Kurds in northern Syria and the Syrian opposition. We’re shrinking their space on the battlefield.”
Kaine’s comments also came a month after NBC News obtained a map showing the dramatic expansion of terror groups across the world. The map, which was prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center, comprised part of a classified briefing document that was used by the White House and dated “August 2016.” It showed that ISIS enjoyed a three-fold increase in countries in which it now operates since 2014. Seven countries existed before 2014, 13 countries were listed in 2015, and currently 18 countries exist in which the Islamic State is fully functioning.
The Donald Trump campaign swiftly seized on Kaine’s comments/
“The only thing that is ‘dramatically improved’ is ISIS’s global reach, the frequency of deadly attacks, and the threat they pose due to the failed national security policies of President Obama and Hillary Clinton,” Jason Miller, the Senior communications Advisor for Donald Trump’s campaign, said in a statement. “Given that recently uncovered U.S. intelligence documents say ISIS is expanding the number of areas where they are fully operational, Hillary Clinton should say whether she agrees with her running mate’s troubling assessment of the threat they pose.”