President Donald Trump on Thursday refused to say whether he personally authorized dropping the “mother of all bombs” on an ISIS target in Afghanistan, but he said he was “very, very proud” of the military’s “successful job.”
The Pentagon announced Thursday that the US had dropped the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, also known as the “Mother of All Bombs” or “MOAB” because of its acronym, on an ISIS target in a remote part of far northeast Afghanistan. It is the largest nonnuclear bomb in the US military’s inventory.
Trump and the White House dodged questions from reporters on Thursday about whether Trump himself authorized dropping the bomb.
“Everybody knows exactly what happens, so – and what I do is I authorize my military,” Trump said. “We have the greatest military in the world, and they’ve done a job as usual, so we have given them total authorization, and that’s what they’re doing. And, frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately.”
Trump also compared his military successes to those of his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
“If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that, really, to what’s happened over the last eight years, you’ll see there’s a tremendous difference. Tremendous difference,” Trump said. “So we have incredible leaders in the military, and we have an incredible military, and we are very proud of them. And this was another very, very successful mission.”
Trump also deflected a question on whether the use of the bomb sent a message to North Korea, a country Trump has been trying to rein in since he became president. He discussed the issue of North Korea with Chinese President Xi Jinping during Xi’s recent visit to Trump’s resort in Florida.
“I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not,” Trump said. “North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.
“I will say this: I think China has really been working very hard. I have really gotten to like and respect, as you know, President Xi. He’s a terrific person, we spent a lot of time together in Florida, and he’s a very special man. So we’ll see how it goes. I think he’s going to try very hard.”