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Full Replay/Transcript, President Trump’s Afghanistan Address: “We’re Not Nation-Building, We’re Killing Terrorists”


President Trump addressed the nation on Monday night in his first official address, beginning at 9 ET, regarding U.S. engagement and "the path forward" in Afghanistan. Long before he was president, Trump advocated pulling out of Afghanistan. In 2013 he tweeted: "Let's get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA." Transcript: PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you. Please be seated. Vice president Pence, Secretary of State Tillerson, members of the cabinet, General Dunford, Deputy Secretary Shanahan, and Colonel Duggan. Most especially, thank you to the men and women of Fort Meyer and every member of the United States military at home and abroad. We send our thoughts and prayers to the families of our brave sailors who were injured and lost after a tragic collision at sea as well as to those conducting the search and recovery efforts. I am here tonight to lay out our path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia. But before I provide the details of our new strategy, I want to say a few words to the service members here with us tonight. To those watching from their posts, and to all Americans listening at home. Since the founding of our republic, our country has produced a special class of heroes whose selflessness, courage, and resolve is unmatched in human history. American patriots from every generation have given their last breath on the battlefield – for our nation and for our freedom. Through their lives, and though their lives – were cut short, in their deeds they achieved total immortality. By following the heroic example of those who fought to preserve our republic, we can find the inspiration our country needs to unify, to heal and to remain one nation under God. The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission and one shared sense of purpose. They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed, and color to serve together and sacrifice together in absolutely perfect cohesion. That is because all service members are brothers and sisters. They are all part of the same family. It's called the American family. They take the same oath, fight for the same flag, and live according to the same law. They are bound together by common purpose, mutual trust, and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other. The soldier understands what we as a nation too often forget, that a wound inflicted upon on a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all. When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people. When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate. The young men and women we sent to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other. As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas, and we will always win, let us find the courage to heal our divisions within. Let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name, that when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one. Thanks to the vigilance and skill of the American military, and of our many allies throughout the world, horrors on the scale of September 11, and nobody can ever forget that, have not been repeated on our shores. But we must acknowledge the reality I am here to talk about tonight, that nearly 16 years after September 11 attacks, after the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure, the American people are weary of war without victory. Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history – 17 years. I share the American people's frustration. I also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money, and most importantly, lives trying to rebuild countries in our own image instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations. That is why shortly after my inauguration, I directed Secretary of Defense Mattis and my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia. My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I have heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the oval office. In other words, when you are president of the United States. So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle. After many meetings over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David with my cabinet and generals to complete our strategy. I arrived at three fundamental conclusion about America's core interests in Afghanistan. First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives. The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need and the trust they have earned to fight and to win. Second, the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11. And as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq. As a result, our hard-won gains slipped back into the hands of terrorists enemies. Our soldiers watched as cities they had fought for bled to liberate and won were occupied by a terrorist group called ISIS. The vacuum we created by leaving too soon gave safe haven for ISIS to spread, to grow, recruit and launch attacks. We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake our leaders made in Iraq. Third and finally, I concluded that the security threats we face in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense. Today, 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world. For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states, whose tense relations threat to spiral into conflict, and that could happen. No one denies that we have inherited a challenging and troubling situation in Afghanistan and South Asia, but we do not have the luxury of going back in time and making different or better decisions. When I became president, I was given a bad and very complex hand, but I fully knew what I was getting into. Big and intricate problems. But one way or another, these problems will be solved. I am a problem solver. And in the end, we will win. We must address the reality of the world as it exists right now, the threats we face, and the confronting of all of the problems of today, an extremely predictable consequences of a hasty withdrawal. We need look no further than last week's vile, vicious attack in Barcelona to understand that terror groups will stop at nothing to commit the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children. You saw it for yourself. Horrible. As I outlined in my speech in Saudi Arabia, three months ago, America and our partners are committed to stripping terrorists of their territory, cutting off their funding and exposing the false allure of their evil ideology. Terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next. They are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators, and, that's right, losers. Working alongside our allies, we will break their will, dry up their recruitment, keep them from crossing our borders, and yes, we will defeat them, and we will defeat them handily. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America's interests are clear. We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America. And we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us or anywhere in the world, for that matter. But to prosecute this war, we will learn from history. As a result of our comprehensive review, American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically in the following ways: A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. I've said it many times, how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military operations. We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will. Another fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power, diplomatic, economic, and military, toward a successful outcome. Someday, after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban and Afghanistan, but nobody knows if or when that will ever happen. America will continue its support for the Afghan government and the Afghan military as they confront the Taliban in the field. Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace. We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists. The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach in how to deal with Pakistan. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists. In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner. Our militaries have worked together against common enemies. The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism. We recognize those contributions and those sacrifices, but Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time they are housing the same terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change. And that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country's harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace. Another critical part of the South Asia strategy or America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India, the world's largest democracy and a key security and economic harbor of the United States. We appreciate India's important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region. Finally, my administration will ensure that you, the brave defenders of the American people, will have the necessary tools and rules of engagement to make this strategy work and work effectively and work quickly. I have already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our war fighters that prevented the secretary of defense and our commanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy. Micromanagement from Washington, D.C., does not win battles. They are won in the field drawing upon the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders and frontline soldiers, acting in real time with real authority and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy. That is why we will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan. The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms. Retribution will be fast and powerful. As we lift restrictions and expand authorities in the field, we are already seeing dramatic results in the campaign to defeat ISIS, including the liberation of Mosul in Iraq. Since my inauguration, we have achieved record-breaking success in that regard. We will also maximize sanctions and other financial and law enforcement actions against these networks to eliminate their ability to export terror. When America commits its warriors to battle, we must ensure they have every weapon to apply swift, decisive, and overwhelming force. Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition. — attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge. We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy, with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will. Since taking office, I have made clear that our allies and partners must contribute much more money to our collective defense, and they have done so. In this struggle, the heaviest burden will continue to be borne by the good people of Afghanistan and their courageous armed forces. As the prime minister of Afghanistan has promised, we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us. Afghanistan is fighting to defend and secure their country against the same enemies who threaten us. The stronger the Afghan security forces become, the less we will have to do. Afghans will secure and build their own nation and define their own future. We want them to succeed. But we will no longer use American military might to construct democracies in faraway lands or try to rebuild other countries in our own image. Those days are now over. Instead, we will work with allies and partners to protect our shared interests. We are not asking others to change their way of life but to pursue common goals that allow our children to live better and safer lives. This principled realism will guide our decisions moving forward. Military power alone will not bring peace to Afghanistan or stop the terrorist threat arising in that country. But strategically-applied force aims to create the conditions for a political process to achieve a lasting peace. America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress. However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check. The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden. The American people expect to see real reforms, real progress, and real results.

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President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump Watch Solar Eclipse


ABC NEWS: President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump wear their eclipse glasses to safely watch the solar eclipse as it crosses over Washington, D.C. The president did take off his glasses at one point before the couple, joined by son Barron, returned inside the White House.

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Charles Barkley: I’ve Always Ignored Confederate Statues, A “Waste” Of Time


In an interview with WBRC-TV in Birmingham last week, Charles Barkley said he has always ignored Confederate statues and that most black people probably haven't thought about them "a day in their life." He said the black community needs to worry about more important issues like education and crime. "That's wasted energy," the NBA legend said. "I'm not going to waste my time screaming at a neo-Nazi who is going to hate me no matter what. And I'm not going to waste my time worrying about these statues," Barkley said. "I've always ignored them," Barkley said of the Confederate statues. "I'm 54 years old. I've never thought about those statues a day in my life. I think if you ask most black people, to be honest, they ain't thought a day in their life about those stupid statues." "What we as black people need to do is we need to worry about our education. We need to stop killing each other. We need to try to find a way to have more economic opportunity in things like that," he said.

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Schiff: There’s An Issue With Trump’s “Capability,” Premature To Invoke 25th Amendment


In an interview with Jake Tapper, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) reacted to Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)'s tweeting it's "time to invoke the 25th Amendment" because President Trump is mentally unstable. The tweet received 24,000 likes and more than 10,000 retweets. "POTUS is showing signs of erratic behavior and mental instability that place the country in grave danger. Time to invoke the 25th Amendment," Speier tweeted last week. From Sunday's broadcast of CNN's State of the Union: TAPPER: After President Trump's comments appearing to equate white supremacists and the counterprotesters, your fellow Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Jackie Speier, tweeted, quote, POTUS is showing signs of erratic behavior and mental instability that places the country in grave danger. Time to invoke the 25th amendment — that's the amendment that would allow the removal of the president. Do you agree that President Trump is mentally unstable? SCHIFF: Well, I certainly think that there's an issue with the president's capability. There's some attribute of his character that makes him seemingly incapable of introspection and a broad understanding of what the country really needs. And I think it's a question that people are asking, you know, what is going on with this president? What could explain this kind of behavior? You know, it began at the very beginning, Jake. I remember when he had won the election and, within days, seemed to suggest that the only reason he didn't win the popular vote was that millions of people illegally came to the country and voted. And I thought to myself, oh, my god, this man is not only going to not grow with the job, but is willing to state things that are just patently untrue. I'm convinced if you took somebody off the street of America and said you've just become president, but here is the deal, you didn't win the popular vote, they would have the common sense to say, look, I'm going to do everything I can to win over everyone. I realize that many people, indeed, most people, didn't vote for me. But he didn't do that. He's not capable of doing that. And I don't understand why. But I do recognize what a serious problem it is. And I think more than when I say it or when Jackie Speier says it, the fact that Bob Corker now says things along the same lines, shows a broadening recognition that there are some serious issues with our president that aren't going to go away, that aren't going to get better. And indeed, with the pressures of the job, may very well get worse. And I think for that reason, at a minimum, we need the very best people around him in the White House, and that means not people like Bannon, not people like Miller, not people like Gorka, but rather some more adults in the room. TAPPER: It sounds like you're saying that you don't disagree with Jackie Speier, who said that President Trump is showing signs of erratic behavior, mental instability. So it sounds like you're not disagreeing with that. What about the 25th amendment part, which would call for the removal of the president? Are you — do you agree with that? SCHIFF: You know, I don't think we're at a point of thinking about the 25th amendment. For one thing, this is something that the vice president and cabinet would need to come together on. I think what the authors of that amendment principally had in mind was some kind of physical incapacitation, or serious mental illness, or a breakdown, an inability to function in office. And I think we're still far from concluding that that's the case, even though we find, many of us, his conduct anathema and there to be a serious problem here. But I don't think it, particularly at this point in time, makes a lot of sense to focus on the 25th amendment. I do think it means we have to put real constraints on this president. We have to make sure our system of checks and balances in Congress work. I think frankly the most powerful thing we could do, rather than pursue the 25th amendment at this point, is make sure that one house or the other, and ideally both, are in Democratic hands, frankly, the hands of a party not in the White House, to be a more effective check on some of the damage this president can do.

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Woodward: Trump Does Not Understand What It’s Like To Be Black, Hispanic Or A Minority In America


Bob Woodward, on FOX News Sunday, said if Trump is not a racist like his friends claim then he needs to make a public clarification. BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think this is different. I think President Trump's remarks post-Charlottesville really show and suggest that he does not understand what it's like to be black, Hispanic or a minority in America. Now, he has said — HEMMER: That's a strong — that's a strong statement, Bob. WOODWARD: Well, yes, but that's — from the words it is provable. Now, people who know him best and work with him say this is not Trump. This is not really what he believes. OK, the president — having reported on these things, controversies, scandals, for 45 years, this is something that doesn't go away. It needs to be clarified. He needs to say in a very straightforward way, this is what I believe and this is why. There is a role and we all know this for idealism in the American presidency. He needs to tap into that. His nature is to be a fighter, a combatant. This is something where he can, at least those who know him best will say, he is — and he has set himself, he is not a racist. He is not an anti-Semite. OK, those words are really shocking. When I heard those, I thought, this is the president of the United States talking? There's a way to clarify and tap into that idealism. To — to walk away from it is not enough.

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Howard Dean: If You Vote Republican In 2018, You’re Voting For Racism


On Saturday, Former DNC chairman Howard Dean told MSNBC's Joy Reid that if you vote Republican in the 2018 midterm election, you are voting for a racist in the White House. "I think this may be the moment for Trump last weekend," Dean said on MSNBC's AM Joy. "Today, in the 2018 elections, if you vote for a Republican, you're supporting Donald Trump. This has now become a referendum. If you want to vote for a racist in the White House, then you better vote for Republicans. But if you want to vote for Democrats and really have change, that's where I think America is going."

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‘This Week’ Roundtable: Taking Stock Of Trump’s Presidency


Republican strategist and ABC News contributor Alex Castellanos; "Washington Post" chief correspondent Dan Balz; Republican strategist and pollster and ABC News contributor, Kristen Soltis Anderson; and FiveThirtyEight senior political writer Perry Bacon, Jr.

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