GOP rep: ISIS 'absolutely not' defeated as a movement

GOP rep: ISIS 'absolutely not' defeated as a movement
© Getty Images

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 John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE and the military "credit for defeating ISIS as a caliphate," he thinks the U.S. needs to continue to target the group.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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. 

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 MattisOnly Donald Trump has a policy for Afghanistan New Pentagon report blames Trump troop withdrawal for ISIS surge in Iraq and Syria Mattis returns to board of General Dynamics 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.