- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke on Monday said some people have made a “compelling” case that the military mission that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was successful despite President Trump and not because of him.

Mr. O’Rourke said it would make sense for the president to congratulate the service members involved.

“But also, some have made the case, and it’s very compelling to me, that this raid was successful in spite of or despite the president — not because of him,” the former Texas congressman said on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

“To turn his back on those Kurdish fighters whose intelligence and help located al-Baghdadi in the first place and made sure that we were successful — his precipitous withdrawal that created a void that Turkey and Russia, Iran, and ISIS and [Syrian President Bashar] Assad have all come into … it is really a miracle that we were able to do this, but is really owing our allies, our friends, our partners on the ground and those brave service members who put their lives on the line,” he said.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden had made a similar point earlier Monday, saying the raid was successful despite Mr. Trump’s “ineptitude” as commander-in-chief.

Mr. O’Rourke entered the presidential race with a splash earlier this year after his unsuccessful U.S. Senate run in Texas in 2018, but he has been mired in the low single digits in recent polling on the 2020 Democratic presidential field.

“Look, I would love to be doing a lot better — that’s for sure,” he said. “But I got to tell you — I am so grateful for the extraordinary supporters and volunteers — some of whom I see here right now that traveled all the way to New York to be here.”

After some cheering and applause, he said: “I wish that enthusiasm and dedication was reflected in the polls. … I don’t think the polling reflects the passion and the commitment and the resolve of our supporters from all over the country.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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