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Remarks at a Meeting With Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

March 20, 2017

President Trump. Mr. Prime Minister, it's an honor to have you here before our Cabinet, which I hope in years to come will be thought of one the great Cabinets in the history of the United States. We just spent a few minutes speaking in the Oval Office and learning and giving each other ideas. One of the things I did ask is why did President Obama sign that agreement with Iran? Because nobody has been able to figure that one out. But maybe someday we'll be able to figure it out.

I want to thank you very much for being here, great respect for you. I know you're working very hard, and General Mattis and General McMaster and Rex Tillerson have all been telling me that you're doing a job—it's not an easy job, it's a very tough job. Your soldiers are fighting hard. I know Mosul is moving along, but Mosul was ours until we left. So perhaps we shouldn't have gone in, and certainly, we shouldn't have left. We should never ever have left, and the vacuum was created, and we discussed what happened.

But we'll spend a lot of time with you, with your group. And thank you all very much for being here. We appreciate it. And we will figure something out. Our main thrust is, we have to get rid of ISIS. We're going to get rid of ISIS. It will happen. It's happening right now. General Mattis and his team have done an incredible job. A lot of things are different than they were even 5 or 6 weeks ago. We've been here a short while, and people have said they'd never seen such a difference.

So we are with you. And again, thank you very much for being with us.

[At this point, Prime Minister al-Abadi spoke in English, as follows.]

Prime Minister al-Abadi. Excuse me. I speak——

President Trump. Yes, please.

[Prime Minister al-Abadi continued in Arabic, but no translation was provided.]

President Trump. Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. We very much appreciate your words, and we will start discussing certain things right now.

Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:28 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis; National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster; and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. He also referred to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a Meeting With Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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