Vice President Mike Pence repeated President Donald Trump's claim that "ISIS has been defeated" in Syria on Wednesday just hours after several U.S. service members were killed by an ISIS suicide bomber in Manbij, Syria.
- The deadly attack in the strategically crucial city was carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest. According to U.S. Central Command, two U.S. service members, one DoD civilian, and a DoD contractor were killed.
- "The caliphate has crumbled and ISIS has been defeated," Pence stated during a visit to the said at the State Department on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, despite the fact that his press secretary tweeted earlier that he and the commander-in-chief were "monitoring the situation."
- His claim of ISIS "defeat" also came about an hour after Army Col. Sean Ryan, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, confirmed that American service members had been victims of the blast.
- In a statement issued following his comments at the State Department, Pence appeared to walk back his language of "defeat," an about face not unlike Trump's hedging following his surprise Syria withdrawal announcement in December 2018.
- "Thanks to the courage of our Armed Forces, we have crushed the ISIS caliphate and devastated its capabilities. As we begin to bring our troops home, the American people can be assured, for the sake of our soldiers, their families, and our nation, we will never allow the remnants of ISIS to reestablish their evil and murderous caliphate – not now, not ever," he added."