He said it on the campaign trail and was roundly criticized for it.
Then-candidate Trump mused during one debate about not just targeting terrorists, but taking out their families, as well, and insisted that the U.S. military would do as he said, if he were president.
“When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families,” Trump previously said.
That’s not really the job of the military, and were he to press on them to do such a thing, it is highly unlikely he would get the results he wanted.
So what that campaign bluster, like the wall or “Lock her up”?
The Washington Post reported Thursday that, after watching a recorded video of a drone strike in Syria in which officials waited until the target was outside of his family’s home, Trump asked, “Why did you wait?”
The agency’s head of drone operations explained to an “unimpressed” Trump there are techniques to limit the number of civilian casualties.
Trump called for the CIA to start arming its drones in Syria and reportedly asked for it to be started in days.
“If you can do it in 10 days, get it done,” Trump said in a meeting, according to two former officials.
Reports are that Trump has also groused in a meeting with top national security aides that the U.S. has gotten nothing for the time American troops have been in Syria, and wants them out by the Fall, with an immediate end to all U.S. civilian stabilization programs in the region.
He doesn’t want it called a “timeline,” however.
He was convinced by those present, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and General Joe Dunsford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to hold off, as they explained putting such time restrictions on the work being done in Syria could leave a vacuum that would quickly be filled by Russia and Iran, and that ISIS would surely regain strength in the area.
Now Trump is reluctantly saying troops will remain “until ISIS is defeated.”