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Top Trump administration officials hail al-Baghdadi raid but stress need for resolve in fighting ISIS

Top Trump administration officials hail al-Baghdadi raid but stress need for resolve in fighting ISIS
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Top Trump administration officials took to the Sunday shows to praise President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE and U.S. special operations forces for the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but they and others stressed the need for continued vigilance in dealing with the terror group.

“It’s a tribute to the courage of our armed forces, special forces that executed the raid on the compound last night, but it’s also a tribute to the decisiveness of President Donald Trump,” Vice President Pence said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

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Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Ex-Nunes aide linked to Biden conspiracy theories will lead Pentagon transition Brennan takes final shot at Trump: 'I leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap' MORE called it a "great day for America," saying on ABC’s "This Week" that the raid "was a brilliantly executed operation" and that Trump "deserves credit for giving it the green light."

"These are always inherently risky, and, as I like to say, our folks make the complex and the dangerous look simple and safe," he added.

National security adviser Robert O'Brien similarly hailed it as a "great day," telling NBC's "Meet the Press" that it was "great news for us, great news for the American people, great news for everyone in the world."

Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses Defense bill moves to formal negotiations with Confederate name fight looming Overnight Defense: Trump orders troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq | Key Republicans call Trump plan a 'mistake' MORE (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, called the raid a “big deal” on CNN’s “State of the Union” and said Trump “deserves a lot of credit for authorizing the raid.”

However, he added that it "does not mean ISIS is defeated any more than getting [Osama] bin Laden meant that al Qaeda was defeated."

“We’ve taken something valuable away, but you still have these networks. You still have people who will take the place of anybody we remove, and they continue to work to attack America,” he added.

Thornberry told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperJake Tapper jokes he's retained Giuliani to look into fraud in 'Sexiest Man' election Brennan takes final shot at Trump: 'I leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap' Biden transition adviser: Legal action for ascertainment of win 'isn't our preference' MORE that al-Baghdadi’s death indicated the need for a continued presence in northern Syria.

“Having some presence there gives us a greater ability through intelligence gathering to keep track of these individuals,” he said.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesHouse Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress Nominated for another Speaker term, Pelosi says it's her last Katherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats MORE said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “it was certainly an appropriate mission to greenlight, and so in that regard the president made the right decision. Now we need him to continue to make appropriate decisions moving forward.”

“The war on terror continues, and we can’t cede American leadership in the Middle East, which remains a dangerous part of the world, to entities like Russia or Turkey or Syria and Iran,” Jeffries added.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn Trump pardons Michael Flynn MORE (D-Calif.) offered a similar assessment on ABC’s "This Week," saying, "This is a great day. A ruthless killer brought to justice."

He added, "It's not the end of ISIS by any means, and we've had some recent serious setbacks with the release of over 100 ISIS fighters. That struggle is going to have to go on, made more difficult by the fact that we've betrayed the Kurds and withdrawn our forces from part of Syria. Nonetheless an important victory against this brutal killer."

Former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThe new marshmallow media in the Biden era Will China get the foreign policy president it wants? Is America ready to return to the Obama-Biden foreign policy? MORE told Tapper that “ISIS is more than just Baghdadi, as important as he was.”

Similarly, former national security adviser Susan Rice said on "Face the Nation" that "it’s a major milestone, and it’s one that we all should be welcoming, but it doesn’t mean that the fight against ISIS is over, and it doesn't mean we can declare mission accomplished and just walk away."

Pence signaled that U.S. forces would not rest on their laurels despite the success of the raid, telling CBS’s Margaret Brennan that with al-Baghdadi’s death, “we believe we’ll have a measurable impact on the effectiveness of that terrorist organization, but we’re not going to let up. We’re not going to stop the fight."

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBiden faces challenges, opportunities in Middle East O'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Israeli military instructed to prepare for Trump strike on Iran: report MORE used similar language in a statement Sunday, saying, "This success underscores the importance of our continued D-ISIS mission in Syria and our determination to continue working with our partners in the Global Coalition to pursue ISIS wherever they may be, and ensuring its enduring defeat."