Trump Says He May Declassify and Release Part of Video of al-Baghdadi Raid

“We captured a man that should have been caught a long time ago,” president says regarding raid that killed the ISIS leader

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump answers questions from the media while departing the White House on Friday in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee / Getty Images)

President Trump said Monday that he may declassify and release part of the video of the weekend raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“We had a great weekend for our country,” he said. “We captured a man that should have been caught a long time ago. Unfortunately he wasn’t. He’s done tremendous damage.”

Trump praised the “amazing display of intelligence and military power and coordination and getting along with people” that got it done. He also said he may “take certain parts” of the video “and release it.”

On Sunday morning, Trump announced that al-Baghdadi was dead after a U.S. military raid in northwest Syria that also killed several ISIS fighters and companions of al-Baghdadi. “He died like a dog. He died like a coward,” Trump said, adding that Baghdadi “spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him.”

His long announcement — with its references to al-Baghdadi dying “like a dog” and apparent ad-libs about military members not using the front door — was dissected in the media all of Sunday morning and afternoon. The conclusion was that, like most things, his behavior differed greatly from predecessor Barack Obama’s in a similar situation. For Obama, that similar situation was the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. As noted by the Washington Post, his 2011 announcement was somber and lasted only nine minutes. Comparatively, Trump’s announcement and press conference lasted almost 50.

During his Sunday remarks, Trump, who was best known before his presidency for hosting hit reality show “The Apprentice” and who frequently refers to events in terms of their optics — especially on-screen — likened watching parts of the raid from the Situation Room to “watching a movie.”

The White House did not immediately respond to request for further comment.

Watch below via Reuters: