Early Sunday morning, President Trump all but hailed victory as he announced that brutal ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed during a U.S. raid in Syria. Mr. Trump announced al-Baghdadi's death in graphic detail during an address to the nation in which he said that the ISIS leader killed himself and some of his children "like a coward" by detonating a suicide vest in a tunnel on a compound in the Idlib province of northwestern Syria after U.S. special operations forces breached the walls and took out many of his fighters.
The development follows a series of military blunders for the administration who has moved out a majority of U.S. presence in Syria, leaving Kurdish coalition fighters to fend for themselves. Mr. Trump, however, explained to reporters that the drawdown in U.S. support was not tied to the al-Baghdadi mission.
Here's the big takeaways from Sunday's episode of "Face the Nation" with Margaret Brennan
Pence says U.S. will be "unrelenting" in fight against ISIS despite al-Baghdadi death
- Vice President Mike Pence hailed the death of al-Baghdadi as an important victory in the Trump administration's strategy to weaken and dismantle the global terrorist group, which has come under scrutiny after the president's controversial decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.
- What Pence said: "Last night, the president of the United States proved to the world that our fight against ISIS is unrelenting and by killing the leader of ISIS — the active operational leader of ISIS, who is reported just two weeks ago as giving orders to ISIS fighters in Syria — we believe will have a measurable impact on the effectiveness of that terrorist organization," Pence told Sunday. "We're not going to let up," the vice president added. "We're not going to stop the fight."
- Why that matters: The administration still appears posed to take on the caliphate, despite the president's repeated claims that it's been "destroyed."
Experts warn Trump's rhetoric on al-Baghdadi death will inspire others
- Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Winnefeld and CBS News Senior National Security Contributor Mike Morell both over the president's vivid description of al-Baghdadi's death during the U.S.-led raid, suggesting it could inspire potential ISIS followers.
- What they said: "This is- one of the- the one part of the president's remarks that did bother me was this continual piling on of humiliation. A little bit of that is appropriate. But you're sending a signal to some of his followers around the world that could cause them to lash out possibly more harshly in the wake of this," said Admiral Winnefeld.
- Morell added, "You don't want a locker room kind of feel to this, right? And that was the one thing we worked really hard on after the bin Laden raid is don't make those kind of statements because it does inspire other people."
- Why that matters: Trump doesn't appear to be backing down from his comparison of al-Baghdadi to a "dog", using it as a frequent message on social media -- a platform many ISIS supporters tend to flock to.
Trey Gowdy leaves door open to joining Trump's legal team
- Former South Carolina Represenative Trey Gowdy didn't close the door entirely on joining the Trump legal team sometime next year after a "restrictive" statute barring his communicating with Congress on behalf of a legal client expires. He was asked directlty on "Face the Nation" if he had plans to work for the Trump legal team
- What Gowdy said: I have no idea. I don't represent the president as of today. I don't know what if anything will exist in January. It may be over. My sense is the president needs folks that can- that can represent him now before the House, the Senate and- and indirectly through television shows and print media. For one year I can't talk to the House or Senate and my reading of that statute, and it's a restrictive reading I'll grant you, but my reading is I can't even communicate indirectly on behalf of a person with the intent to persuade."
- Why that matters: The Republican's willingness to wade back into politics was confusing to many as Gowdy was not shy about his disdain for all things Washington. He repeatedly told "Face the Nation" during his time in office that he "so sick and tired of politics" he wanted to go back home. Yet, Gowdy, a Trump ally, was all but prepared to dive into one of the most divisive vitriolic arguments that could be had, something he equated to the "death penalty."
Klobuchar slams Trump's foreign policy strategy as a "disaster" despite al-Baghdadi raid
- 2020 contender Sen. Amy Klobuchar had harsh words for Mr. Trump's foreign policy acumen despite the successful raid in Syria that led to the death of ISIS' top leader. She explained she would have done things dramatically different if she were in office.
- What Klobuchar said: "I would not have removed those 150 troops. I would not have done it. I would not have given in to Erdogan when he called. Yeah I would have kept them there."
- Why that matters: Klobuchar is trying to flex her muscle among a packed 2020 crowd and show that if the shoe were on the other foot, she would keep U.S. forces overseas.