tv POTUS Statement on al- Baghdadi CSPAN October 27, 2019 4:05pm-4:56pm EDT
pres. trump: last night, the united states brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice. abu bakr al-baghdadi is dead. he was the founder and leader of isis. the most ruthless and violent terror organization anywhere in the world. the united states has been searching for al-baghdadi for many years. capturing or killing him has been the top national security priority of my administration. u.s. special operations forces executed a dangerous and daring nighttime raid in northwestern syria and accomplished their mission in grand style. the u.s. personnel were incredible.
i got to watch much of it. no personnel were lost in the operation, but a large number of abu bakr al-baghdadi's fighters and companions were killed with him. he died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering, crying, and screaming all the way. the compound had been cleared by this time with people either surrendering or being shot and killed. 11 young children were moved out of the house and are uninjured. the only ones remaining were baghdadi in the tunnel. he had dragged three of his young children with him. they were led to certain death.
he reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. he ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children. his body was mutilated by the blast, the tunnel had caved in on it in addition. test results gave certain, immediate, and totally positive identification. it was him. the thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, and total panic and dread, terrified of the american forces bearing down on him. we were in the compound for approximately two hours, and after the mission was accomplished we took highly
sensitive material and information from the raid. much having to do with isis origins, future plans, things that we very much want. abu bakr al-baghdadi's demise demonstrates america's relentless pursuit of terrorist leaders and our commitment to the enduring and total defeat of isis and other terrorist organizations. our reach is very long. as you know, last month we announced that we recently killed hamza bin laden, the violent son of osama of bin laden who was saying area bad things about our people, our country, and the world. he was the heir apparent to al qaeda. terrorists who oppress and murder innocent people should never sleep soundly knowing that we will completely destroy them.
these savage monsters will not escape their fate and they will not escape the final judgment of god. baghdadi has been on the run for many years, long before i took office. at my direction, as commander in chief of the united states, we obliterated his caliphate 100% in march of this year. today's events are a reminder that we will continue to pursue the remaining isis terrorists to their brutal end. that also goes for other terrorist organizations, they are likewise in our sites. baghdadi and the losers who work for him, and losers they are, had no idea what they were getting into. in some cases, they were very
frightened puppies. in other cases they were hard-core killers. but they killed many people. their murder of innocent americans james foley, stephen sotloff, peter, and caleb were especially heinous. the shocking publicized murder of a jordanian pilot, a wonderful young man. i spoke to the king of jordan, they all knew him and loved him. he was burned alive in a cage for all to see. the execution of christians in libya, and egypt, as well as a genocidal mass murder, rank isis among the most depraved organizations in the history of
our world. the forced religious conversions, the orange suits prior to so many beheadings, all of which were openly displayed for the world to see. this was all that abu bakr al-baghdadi -- this is what he wanted. this is what he was proud of. he was a sick and depraved man. and now he is gone. baghdadi was vicious and violent, and he died in a vicious and violent way. as a coward running and crying. this raid was impeccable.
it could only have taken place with the acknowledgment and help of certain other nations and people. i want to thank the nations of russia, turkey, syria, and iraq. i also want to thank the syrian kurds for certain support they were able to give us. this was a very dangerous mission. thank you as well to the great intelligence professionals who help to make this very successful journey possible. i want to thank the soldiers and sailors, airmen, and marines involved in last night's operation. you are the very best there is anywhere in the world, no matter where you go, there is nobody even close. i want to thank the general and the joint chiefs of staff. i want to thank our professionals who work in other agencies of the united states government who were critical to the mission's unbelievable
success. last night was a great night for the united states and the world. a brutal killer, one who has caused so much hardship and death has violently been eliminated. he will never again harm another innocent man, woman, or child. he died like a dog. he died like a coward. the world is now a much safer place. god bless america. thank you. any questions? >> when did you first hear about this operation getting started? pres. trump: we have had him under surveillance for a couple of weeks. we knew about where he was going, where he was heading. we had very good information that he was going to another location. he did not go.
two or three efforts were canceled because he decided to change his mind, constantly changing his mind. finally, we saw that he was held up, we knew something about the compound. we knew it had tunnels. the tunnels were dead ends for the most part. there was one we think wasn't, but we had that covered just in case. the level of intelligence, the level of work was pretty amazing. when we landed with eight helicopters, a large crew of brilliant fighters ran out of those helicopters and blew holes into the side of the building, not wanting to go through the main door because that was booby-trapped. it was something really amazing to see. i got to watch it along with the general, vice president pence, and others, in the situation room.
we watched it so clearly. >> were there body cameras how did you watch it? pres. trump: i don't want to say how, but as though you are watching a movie. the technology there alone is really great. a big part of the trip that was of great danger was, it was approximately an hour and 10 minute flight and we were flying over very dangerous territory. in fact, some of our leaders said that could be the most dangerous, flying in and flying out. that is why last night we were so quiet about it. we did not say anything and i did not make my remark until after they had landed safely in a certain area. the flight in and out was a very dangerous part. there was a chance we would have met unbelievable fire. russia treated us great.
they opened up and we had a flyover -- certain russia held areas. russia was great. iraq was excellent. we really had a great cooperation. they did not know what we were doing or where we were going exactly. the isis fighters are hated as much by russia and some of these other countries as they are by us. that is why i say they should start doing a lot of the fighting. and i think they will be able to do that. >> what role did russia play? pres. trump: they gave us not a military role, but they gave us some information that --
>> what role did the kurds play? pres. trump: they gave us some information. >> what was the role of turkey? pres. trump: turkey, we dealt with them, they knew we were going in. we flew over some territory. they were terrific, no problem. you know, they could start shooting and then we will take them out but a lot of bad things can happen. plus, it was a very secret mission. we flew very low and very fast. it was a very dangerous part of the mission. getting in and getting out, too, equal. we wanted an identical -- we took an identical route. we met with gunfire coming in but it was local gunfire. that gunfire was immediately terminated. these people are amazing. they had the gunfire terminated immediately.
meaning they were shot from the airships. >> i am trying to understand the timing. you talked earlier about pulling troops out and troops going back in. we are trying to understand the timing of this operation. pres. trump: from the first day i came to office and now we are getting close to three years, i would say where is baghdadi? i want him. we would kill terrorist leaders but there were names i never heard of. they were names that were not recognizable, they were not the big names. some good ones and important ones. i kept saying where is al-baghdadi? a couple of weeks ago, they were able to scope them out. these people are very smart. they are not into the use of cell phones anymore. they are very technically brilliant. they use the internet better than almost anybody in the world, perhaps other than donald trump. but they use the internet incredibly well. what they have done with the internet through recruiting -- and that is why he died like a dog, he died like a coward. he was whimpering, screaming,
and crying. frankly, i think it is something that should be brought out so his followers and all of these young kids that want to leave the various countries, including the united states, they should see how he died. he did not die a hero, he died a coward. crying, whimpering, and screaming and bringing three kids with him to death. certain death. he knew the tunnel had no end. it was a closed-end tunnel. not a good place to be. >> so this was going on before you made the announcement? pres. trump: i have been looking for him for three years. i started getting some very positive feedback about a month ago. we had some incredible intelligence officials that did a great job.
that is what they should be focused on. >> when did this operation start yesterday? pres. trump: this operation started two weeks ago in terms of the real operation. we had him scoped. we thought he would be in a certain location and he was, things started checking out very well. we were involved on our own team with some brilliant people who i have gotten to know. brilliant people that love our country. highly intelligent people. we have had it pretty well scoped out for a couple of weeks. he tends to change immediately. he had a lot of cash. he tends to change on a dime, where he will go to a certain location then all of a sudden he will go someplace else. and then you have to cancel. this was one where we knew he was there. you can never be 100% sure. you are basing it on technology more than anything else. we thought he was there, and then we got a confirmation. when we went in, they were greeted with a lot of firepower.
a lot of firepower. i will tell you, these guys, they do a job. they are so brave, so good, so importantly many of his people were killed. we will announce the exact number over the next 24 hours. but, many were killed. we lost nobody. think of that. it is incredible. >> when you told the -- pres. trump: the canine was hurt that went into the tunnel. but we lost nobody. >> you requested the flyovers for those areas --
pres. trump: we spoke to the russians. we told them we are coming in. they said " thank you for telling us." >> did you tell them why? pres. trump: no, they do not know why. we told them we thought they would be happy. they hate isis as much as we do. you know what isis has done to russia. they did not know the mission, but they knew we were going over an area where they had a lot of firepower. >> have you notified congressional leaders about this? pres. trump: we notified some, others are being notified now as i speak. we were going to notify them last night but we decided not to do that because washington leaks like i've ever seen before. there has no country in the world that leaks like we do. washington is a leaking machine. i told my people we will not notify them until our people are out. not just in, but out. i don't want to have them greeted with firepower like you wouldn't believe. we were able to get in, it was top secret. it was kept. there were no leaks. the only people that knew where the people that i dealt with.
the joint chiefs of staff were incredible. we had some tremendous backup. robert o'brien, secretary esper, secretary pompeo, pence was great. this is a very small group of people that knew about this. we had very few people. a leak could have caused the death of all of them. now, they are so good that i think nothing was going to stop them anyway, if you want to know the truth. we had them surrounded by massive airpower. up in the air, surrounded at very high levels. we were very low. we had tremendous airpower. >> you watched all this from the situation room? who are you with? pres. trump: secretary esper, a few of the joint chiefs, some generals, we had some great military people in that room. we had some great intelligence people. robert o'brien.
>> was the pilot of the u.s. troops in syria last month strategically timed with this raid? pres. trump: it's a great question and you're doing a great job. your network is fantastic. they are really doing a great job. please let them know. the pullout had nothing to do with this. in fact, we found this out at a similar time, it's a very good question. we found this out at a similar time. we are after these leaders and we have others in sight, but this was the big one. this was the biggest one. this was the one that built isis and beyond and was looking to rebuild it again, very strongly looking to rebuild it again. this is why he went to this province and that is why he went
to this area. i was watching this morning and they were wondering why he was there. people were so surprised. that is where he was trying to rebuild from. that is the place that made most sense if you are looking to rebuild. >> at what moment did you send out your tweet? pres. trump: i said that right after i knew they had landed safely. i wanted you guys to know there would be something big this morning. >> where did they land? pres. trump: i would rather not say that we landed in a very friendly port in a friendly country. >> didn't give you any pause about your decision to withdraw? pres. trump: no, i think it is great. we don't want to keep soldiers between syria and turkey for the next 200 years. they have been fighting for hundreds of years. we are out. but, we are leaving soldiers to
secure the oil. we may have to fight for the oil, it's ok. maybe somebody else once the oil, that will be a fight. we are protecting the oil for several reasons. for one, it stops isis because isis got tremendous wealth from that oil. we have taken it. number two, someone else may claim it, we will either negotiate a deal with whoever is claiming it if we think it is fair or we will militarily stop them very quickly. we have tremendous power in that part of the world. the airport is nearby. a very big, very monstrous, very powerful and expensive airport that was built a few years ago. we are in the middle east now for $8 trillion. we do not want to be keeping syria and turkey. they will have to make their own decisions. syria has worked incredibly with us but it was much easier dealing with the kurds after
they went through three days of fighting, because that was a brutal three days. we would have said to the kurds, hey, do you mind moving over seven miles? they have seven or eight miles good could you mind moving over? turkey has taken tremendous deaths from that part of the world. we call it a safe zone but it was anything but a safe zone. turkey has lost thousands of people from that safe zones. they have always wanted the safe zone for many years. i am glad i was able to help them get it. we don't want to be there. i want our soldiers home or fighting something meaningful. i will tell you who loves us being there -- russia and china. because while they build their military we are depleting our military there. russia loves us being there. russia likes us being there for two reasons -- because we kill isis, we kill terrorists, and they are very close to russia. we are 8000 miles away. maybe they can get here but we
have done very well with homeland security and the ban, which, by the way, is approved by the united states supreme court. i know there was a case that said we lost the case and he was right, he refused to say that we won the case in the supreme court. we have a very effective ban and it is hard for people to come to our country. it is many thousands of miles away. russia is right there and turkey is right there. syria is there. they are all right there. iran is right there, iraq is right there. they all hate isis. so we don't -- in theory, they should do something. i will give you something else. the european nations have been a tremendous disappointment. because i personally called, but my people called a lot, take your isis fighters. and they didn't want them. they said, we don't want them. they came from france, germany,
from the u.k., they came from a lot of countries. i actually said to them, if you don't take them i will drop them on your border and you can have fun capturing them again. the united states taxpayer is not going to pay for the next 50 years. you see what guantanamo costs. we are not going to pay billions of dollars because we were good enough to capture people that want to go back to germany, france, the u.k., and parts of europe. they can walk back. they can't walk to our country. we have lots of water in between our country and them. so yeah, go. >> you mentioned you had gotten to know some brilliant people along this process who had helped provide information and advice. is there anyone in particular or would you like to give anyone credit for getting to this point today? pres. trump: i would but if i mentioned one i have to mention so many. i spoke to senator richard burr,
and as you know, he is very involved with intelligence and the committee. he is a great gentleman. i spoke with lindsey graham just a while ago. in fact, lindsey graham is right over here. he has been very much involved in the subject. he is a very strong hawk but i think lindsay agrees with what we are doing now. there are plenty of other countries that can help them patrol -- i don't want to leave 1000, 2000, 3000 soldiers on the border. where lindsay and i totally agree is the oil. the oil is so important for so many reasons. it fueled isis. number one. number two, it helps the kurds. it has basically been taken away from the kurds. they were able to live with that oil. number three, it can help us because we should be able to take some also. what i intend to do perhaps is
make a deal with an exxon mobil or one of our great countries to -- companies to go in there and do it properly. it is big oil underground but not big oil up top. much of the machinery has been shot and dead. it has been through wars. and spread out the wealth. we are protecting the oil. we are securing the oil. now, that doesn't mean we don't make a deal at some point. they are fighting for a thousand years, fighting for centuries, i want to bring our soldiers back home but i want to secure the oil. if you read about the history of donald trump, i was a civilian. i had absolutely nothing to do with going into iraq and i was totally against it. i always used to say "if they are going to go in" -- i'm sure you have heard this -- "if they are going into iraq, keep the oil."
they never did. they never did. i know lindsey graham had a bill where we would have been paid back for all of the billions of dollars that we have spent, many billions of dollars. i hate to say it but it's actually trillions of dollars, many, many billions of dollars and by one vote they were unable to get that approved in the senate. they had some pretty big opposition from people who shouldn't have opposed opposed like the president. if you did that, iraq would be a different story because they would be owing us a lot of money be treating us differently. iraq was good with respect to the raid last night. >> just to figure the timing. you got back to the white house at 4:30. did you immediately go to the situation room? pres. trump: i have known about this three days. we thought for three days this was what is going to happen. look, nobody was even hurt. our canine, i call it a dog, a
beautiful dog, a talented dog, was injured and brought back. but, we had no soldiers injured. they did a lot of shooting and a lot of blasting. even not going through the front door. you would think you would go through the door. if you are a normal person you say "knock knock, may i come in?" the fact is they blasted their way through the house in a very heavy wall. it took them literally seconds. by the time those things went off they had a beautiful big hole and they got everyone by surprise. unbelievably brilliant as fighters. i can't imagine there would be anyone better. these are our top operations people. >> al-baghdadi has been in bad health for some time? was there any indication of that? pres. trump: we don't know that. he was the last one out. his people have either been
killed, which there were many, or gave up and came out. with the 11 children that came out, we were able to do that. we don't know if they were his children. they might have been. three died in the tunnel. the tunnel collapsed with the explosion. you had other fighters coming out also and they were being brought back. right now, we have them imprisoned. >> do you remember what time you went into the situation room? pres. trump: well, i started at 5:00. we were pretty much gathered at 5:00 yesterday. we were in contact all day long through hopefully secure phones. i will let you know tomorrow. nothing seemed to leak, so i guess they were secure for a change. we gathered more or less at 5:00. through hopefully secure phones. i will let you know tomorrow. the attack started moments after that. the liftoff started moments
after that. again, the element of the attack they were most afraid of was getting from our base into that compound. because there was tremendous firepower that we were flying over. i won't go into it, but you had a very big russian presence in one area. you had a turkish presence. you had a syrian presence and you are flying low. there were shots made t and we -- shots made but we think people that were indiscriminately shooting. the helicopters took some shots but we think these were people that don't like to see helicopters i guess. >> was there any kind of dna test done? pres. trump: no, that is another part of the genius of these people. they had his dna, more of it than they want even.
they brought it with them with lab technicians who were with them and they assumed that this was al-baghdadi. they thought visually it was him. but they did an on-site test and got samples. to get to his body, they had to remove a lot of debris because the tunnel had collapsed about these people are very good at that. as i said, they brought body parts back with them. there was not much left. the vest blew up. there were pieces that they brought back. they did an on-site test and it was a very quick call that took place about 15 minutes after he was killed and it was positive. this is a confirmation.
>> it was also reported that his wife -- or one of his wives had detonated a vest? pres. trump: there were two women. there were two women. both wives wearing vests. they had not detonated but the fact that they were dead and had vests on made it difficult for our men. because they had vests on. it made it very difficult for our men because you never know what is going to happen. they are lying, they are dead, but they never detonated. >> on the possible successors, have you been briefed? pres. trump: we know the successors and we already have them in our sites. we will tell you that right now. we know the successors. hamza bin laden was a big thing, but this is the biggest there is. this is the worst ever. osama bin laden was very big but osama bin laden became big with the world trade center.
this is a man who built a whole, as he would like to call it, a country, a caliphate, and was trying to do it again. i have not heard too much about as he would like to call it, a his health. i heard stories about maybe he may not have been in good health. he died in a ruthless, vicious manner. that i can tell you. >> were there any adults taken? pres. trump: yes, we have people that were taken. many of the people died on the site, but we had adults taken. the children, we left them under the care of somebody that we understand. 11 children. >> 11 children, how many adults? pres. trump: i would rather not say. i will leave that to the generals. a small group. more dead than alive. >> which special operations teams were involved? pres. trump: many of them. and at the top level.
people who were truly incredible at their craft. i've never seen anything like it. >> as far as partnerships, were there any other forces or was this only american troops? pres. trump: only american forces. only american forces. but we were given great cooperation. we told the russians we were coming in because we had to go over them. they were curious, but we said we were coming. we said one way or another we are coming. they were cooperative. we did say it would be a mission they would like. they hate isis as much as we do. >> as far as intel purposes, was there any foreign intel that proved useful along the way in this operation? pres. trump: we had our own intel, we got very little help and did not need much help. we have some incredible people.
when we use our intelligence correctly, what we can do is incredible. when we waste our time with intelligence that hurts our country, because we had poor leadership at the top that is not good. i have gotten to know many of the intel people and i will say that they are spectacular. they will not want to talk about it, they will keep it quiet. the last thing they want because these are rate patriots. -- great patriots. the people i have been dealing with our incredible people. it is really a deserving name, intelligence. i have dealt with some people who aren't very intelligent. having to do with intel. this is the top people and it was incredible. it was flawless. and it was very complicated. i do appreciate russia, turkey, iraq, and syria to an extent. we are flying into syria, a lot of syrian people with lots of guns.
we had good cover for probably the most dangerous part. when you are flying in, it doesn't sound like that would be the most dangerous when you go into shooting all the things that happen once they broke into that pretty power compound. -- powerful compound. that was a very strong compound. as i said, it had tunnels. the most dangerous art, we had -- part, we had great cooperation with. yes, ma'am? >> did you inform speaker pelosi ahead of time? pres. trump: no, i didn't do that. i wanted to make sure this was kept secret. i don't want to have men or women lost. i don't want to have people lost. >> do you anticipate inviting the special forces to the white house? pres. trump: oh, they will be invited. i don't know if they will want to have their faces shown. they are incredible for the country. they are not looking for public relations. they love doing what they are doing. i have seen it. the first lady was out there recently looking at what they do. she came back and said, "wow, i've never seen anything like
that." the training. all of the training. and the power of the people. the men and women, the strength, the physical and mental strength, these are incredible people. these are very unique individuals. >> you mentioned whimpering. could you hear that on your video hookup? pres. trump: i don't want to talk about it. he was screaming, crying, and whimpering. he was scared out of his mind. think of james foley. think of kayla. think of the things he did to kayla. what he did to foley and so many others. for those people that say "isn't this a little violent?" think of how many times have you seen men, i think in all cases men for the most part in terms of this, where you see the
the ocean -- you see the orange suits and you see the ocean, and they are beheaded. or how many of you got to see, because it was out there, the jordanian pilot whose plane went down, they captured him, put him in a cage, and set him on fire? the king of jordan attacked very powerfully when that happened. they have never seen a thing like that. they set them on fire. this was al-baghdadi and you should never ever see a thing like that again. there will be people emerge, but this was the worst of this particular world. this was the worst. probably in certain ways the smartest. he was also a coward. he did not want to die. think of it. everybody was out and we were able to search him out and find them in the tunnel. we knew the tunnel existed, and that is where he was. >> you have taken a lot of heat for the syria pullout, do you think this will change your standing?
pres. trump: i don't have a syria pullout. i don't want to guard syria and turkey for the rest of our lives. i don't want to do it. it is expensive and dangerous. they have been fighting for centuries. i don't want to have my people -- 2000 men and women, or a thousand, -- we had 28. i said i don't want them there anyway. i will secure the oil. that happens to be in a certain part. that is tremendous money involved. i would love -- the oil and -- i will tell you a story. in iraq, president bush went in -- i strongly disagreed with it even though it wasn't my expertise at the time, but i have a very good instinct about things. they went in -- i said that's a tremendous mistake. there were no weapons of mass destruction. it turned out i was right. i was right for other reasons. it turned out above everything
else, they had no weapons of mass destruction. that would be a reason to go in, but they had none. i heard recently that iraq, over the last number of years, actually discriminates against america in oil leases. in other words, some oil companies from other countries, after all we've done, have an advantage in iraq for the oil. i said keep the oil, give them what they need. keep the oil. we go in, we lose thousands of lives, spend trillions of dollars and our companies don't even have an advantage in getting the oil leases. so i just tell you that story. that's what i heard. >> i saw your counterterrorism director in the hallway was there a role with nfc? pres. trump: yes, everybody. gina was great, everybody played
a role. joe was great. gina was great. they were all great. >> just to follow up, in the syria pullout did that generate the intelligence that led to this operation? pres. trump: no. we were looking at this -- as i said, steve -- i'm almost here three years. i've been looking at this for three years. they come in, sir, i said i don't want somebody. i want al-baghdadi. that's the one i want. they say they have somebody else, i would say great, take him out, but i want al-baghdadi. that's who i want. i don't want other people. i also wanted hamza bin laden because he's a young man around 30, looks just like his father, tall, very handsome, and he was talking bad things just like his father. you know, if you read my book, there was a book just before the world trade center came down. and i don't get any credit for
this but that's ok. i never do. but here we are. i wrote a book, a really very successful book and in that book about a year before the world trade center was blown up, i said there is somebody named osama bin laden, you better kill him or take him out, something to that effect, he's big trouble. now, i wasn't in government. i was building buildings and doing what i did but i always found it fascinating. but i saw this man, tall, handsome, very charismatic making horrible statements about wanting to destroy our country. and i'm writing a book. i think i wrote 12 books. all did very well. and i'm writing a book, world trade center had not come down. i think it was about, if you check it was a year before the world trade center came down. and i am saying to people, take
out osama bin laden that no one ever heard of. nobody ever heard of. al-baghdadi everyone has heard of because he built this monster for a long time. and no one heard of osama bin laden until really the world trade center. but about a year, a year and a half before the world trade center came down, before the book came out i was talking about osama bin laden, you have to kill him, you have to take him out. nobody listened to me. and to this day, i get people coming up to me and they said you know what, one of the most amazing things i've seen about you is that you predicted that osama bin laden had to be killed before he knocked down the world trade center. it's true. most of the press doesn't want to write that but it is true. if you go back and look it my book, i think it's "the america we deserve." i made a prediction -- let's put it this way, if they would have listened to me, a lot of things would have been different. >> can you talk about some of
the difficult decisions you had along the way here in this operation, anything that weighed or that you had to do? pres. trump: just death. i'm sending a large number of brilliant fighters. these are the greatest fighters in the world. i'd rather let the generals tell you but a large number. we had eight helicopters and many other ships and planes. it was a large group. and again, this is a large group heading over. very, very strong firepower areas, where that was decision one, will they make it? and they made it. but they took fire. but they made it. they didn't say -- again, it wasn't nation fire but believe it was individual group fire or gang fire as they call it. so they made it. so that was a big relief. they went in and blasted their
way in so quickly, it was incredible. because this building was quite powerful, strong. they blasted their way in and then all hell broke loose. it's incredible nobody was killed or hurt. we had nobody even hurt. and that's why the dog was so great. we actually had a robot to go in the tunnel. but we didn't get it because we were tracking him very closely but we had a robot just in case because we were afraid he had a suicide vest on and if you get close to him and he blows it up he's going to die. he had a very powerful suicide vest. >> were you making decisions at the moment the troops were on the ground? pres. trump: no, just incredible. we were getting full reports on literally a minute by minute basis. sir, we just broke in. sir, the wall is down. sir, you know, we've captured -- sir, two people are coming out right now hands up, fighters. then the 11 children out.
numerous people were dead within the building that they killed. then it turned out they gave us a report, sir, there's only one person in the building. we are sure he's in the tunnel. trying to escape. but it is a dead-end tunnel. and it was brutal but it was over. as i said, when he blew himself up, the tunnel collapsed on top of everything and his children. so he led his three children to death. so you know. >> in the tunnel, is that when the robot followed him in? pres. trump: the robot was sent to but didn't hook it up because they were moving too fast. we were moving fast. we weren't 100% sure about the tunnel being dead ended. it's possible there could have been an escape hatch somewhere along we didn't know about. so we moved very, very quickly. these people, they were moving -- they were chasing. they were chasing.
but again because of a suicide vest you can't get too close. again, one of the reasons with the wives is if they have a suicide vest, you know, you have to be very careful. these vests are brutal. brutal. and they go for a long distance. yes, please. >> have you spoken or will you speak to the families like the foley family? pres. trump: i'm calling the families now. it will be a pleasure to do that. the foley family who i know, and will be calling kayla's family, what he did to her was incredible. it's a well known story and i'm not going to say it. he kept her in captivity for a long period of time. he kept her in his personal captivity. she was a beautiful woman, beautiful young woman. helped people. she was there to help people. and he saw her and he thought she was beautiful. and he brought her into captivity for a long period of
time and then he killed her. he was an animal and a gutless animal. thank you all very much. i appreciate it. very great day for our country. thank you. announcer: congressional leaders reacting to the operation. nancy pelosi's office issued a statement saying the death of al-baghdadi is significant but the death of this isis leader does not mean the death of isis. scores of isis fighters remain under uncertain conditions in syrian prisons and countless others in the region and around the world remain in tend on spreading their influence. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell released this theement, "this victory for u.s. and our many counterterrorism partners is a
significant step for the campaign against isis, for the future of the middle east, and for the safety of the american people and free people around the world." reaction to the military strike against isis leader al-baghdadi from the sunday news shows. next, we will hear from defense secretary mark esper followed by national security advisor robert o'brien. will tell you this, the operation was conducted last night. the president approved a raid along the target to capture al-baghdadi. if we cannot capture him, we were going to kill him. like i said, the raid was successful. we pulled our troops out. we had two minor casualties. but a very successful raid. >> when you say minor injuries, they have recovered from those injuries? >> they have already returned from duty. >> that's great. the president knew about the