U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said ISIS will be “gone by tonight” and held up a pair of maps to reporters that he claimed shows the dramatic reduction of the Islamic State’s presence in Syria since his election in 2016.
The president unfolded the maps — printed on the same page, one on top of the other — in response to a question asking if he’d reversed his Syria policy. The upper image, which Trump said depicted the region in 2016, had splotches of red that the president said marked the various area ISIS had strongholds in the Middle Eastern country.
“When I took it over, it was a mess,” Trump said.
Now, he added as he pointed to the bottom map that he said depicted ISIS presence in Syria today, “there is no red. In fact, there’s actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight.”
Trump unexpectedly announced in December that he would pull thousands of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, a move that drew criticism from lawmakers and his own national security team. The president has flip-flopped on his exact plan for withdrawal in the time since, eventually agreeing…