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In-Town Print Pool #2
Steven Miller • The Washington Times
March 20, 2017: 04:04 PM

The pool entered the Cabinet room for the bilateral meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

President Trump was seated with Vice President Pence on his right and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his left.

Mr. Abadi was seated directly across the Cabinet Room's oval table from the president. A dozen Iraqi dignitaries were seated on Mr. Abadi's side of the table.

Cabinet members seated on the president's side of the table included White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

The president welcomed Mr. Abadi to a meeting with his Cabinet "which I hope will go down as one of the great Cabinets of the United States," he said.

The president said he spent a few minutes talking with the prime minister in the Oval Office. The discussions included a pledge of continued U.S. support for the fight against ISIS.

He also asked the prime minister about the Obama administration's Iraq nuclear deal, one of a couple digs at President Obama.

"One of the things I asked him was why did President Obama sign that agreement for Iran because nobody has been able to figure that one out," said the president. "Maybe someday we'll be able to figure it out."

The president also said that the U.S. military should never have withdrawn from Iraq in 2011.

"Certainly we shouldn't have left. We should never ever have left," said the president. "A vacuum was created and we discussed what happened."

The president praised Mr. Abadi for doing a "good job."

"I want to thank you very much for being here. Great respect for you. And I know you are working very hard and Gen. Mattis and Gen. McMaster and Rex Tillerson are all telling me you're doing a good job. It's not an easy job. It's a very tough job. Your soldiers are fighting hard," said the president.

The president added that "Mosul is moving along."

"We will figure something out. I mean we have to get rid of ISIS. We're going to get rid of ISIS," said the president.

He said it was "happening right now."

"A lot of things are different than they were just five or six weeks ago," said the president.

Mr. Abadi made remarks in Arabic. A translation will be passed along when available.

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