President Donald Trump said during his presidential campaign in 2016 that one key to defeating ISIS would be to describe them using the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”
While counter-terrorism officials from both the Bush and Obama administrations have said that such a phrase is counterproductive in the fight against ISIS, Trump and his top speechwriters have insisted on using it anyway.
Politico reports that Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the president’s newly minted national security adviser, tried to convince the president to delete references to “radical Islamic terrorism” in his upcoming speech on Tuesday night.
It seems, however, that his ploy was not successful.
“The phrase will be in the president’s speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, according to a senior White House aide — even though McMaster reviewed drafts and his staff pressed the president’s chief speechwriter and senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, not to use it,” Politico writes.
McMaster, who developed counterinsurgency strategies in Iraq last decade, believes that the United States must seek out allies inside the Muslim world, and that labeling terrorism as “Islamic” only serves to isolate people who could be sympathetic to the American cause.