Trump avoids term ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ during speech
President Trump during a speech Sunday in Saudi Arabia avoided the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” which he often used on the campaign trail.
During the speech to leaders of more than 50 Muslim-majority nations, the president did use terms such as “Islamic extremism, and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.” Trump diverted slightly from his prepared remarks in using “Islamic” rather than “Islamist.”
“Of course there is still much work to do,” the president said during his speech in Riyadh.
“That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism, and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.”
Trump’s decision not to use the term was notable, as he had repeatedly used the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” during the campaign and criticized former President Obama for not using the term.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster suggested ahead of Trump’s speech that the president wouldn’t use the term.
“The president will call it whatever he wants to call it,” McMaster said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“But I think it’s important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that [extremists] are not religious people. And, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this fall idea of some kind of religious war.”
During the speech Sunday, the president implored Muslim nations to form a new “coalition” to defeat extremism. He struck a more accommodating tone toward Islam, a religion he repeatedly targeted during his presidential campaign.
– This post was updated at 2:07 p.m.
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