Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) on Monday said that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is "absolutely" not defeated as a movement.
Waltz said during an appearance on CNN's "New Day" that while he does give President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE and the military "credit for defeating ISIS as a caliphate," he thinks the U.S. needs to continue to target the group.
"We have to stay on offense. ISIS is defeated as a caliphate but absolutely not as a movement," Waltz added. "It’s metastasizing. It’s actually growing in places like Afghanistan.”
Waltz's comments come as Trump said last week that ISIS was "100 percent" defeated in Syria, a claim that has been challenged by some experts.
Waltz added during his "New Day" appearance that the U.S. needs to intervene overseas to fight ISIS, dismissing arguments that the U.S. should stay out of Syria and Afghanistan.
“If we don't fight it over there and fight these wars in places like Kabul and Damascus, it will follow us home. We saw that when President Obama pulled out of Iraq. And that’s where we saw attacks all over Europe and places like San Bernardino and Orlando," Waltz said.
"There’s a reason that hasn’t happened in the last two years, because we’ve stayed on offense. But we can’t quit now," he added.
"ISIS is defeated as a caliphate but absolutely not as a movement," says GOP Rep. @michaelgwaltz who cautions against declaring victory.— New Day (@NewDay) March 11, 2019
"If we don't fight it over there and fight these wars in places like Kabul and Damascus, it will follow us home." https://t.co/ZZpib6nQK9 pic.twitter.com/hePN1cIu21
In December, Trump announced he would immediately pull the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria, declaring that ISIS had been defeated in the country. The decision was at odds with the recommendation of then-Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default Pentagon chiefs say debt default could risk national security MORE and prompted Mattis's resignation.
In February, however, the Trump administration backtracked and agreed to leave about 400 troops in Syria, stationing 200 at a safe zone in northeast Syria and 200 at the U.S. military base at al-Tanf.