Trump calls on Muslim nations to unite in fight against terrorism - live updates

Last Updated May 21, 2017 12:34 PM EDT

 

 

President Trump focused on unifying Muslim nations in the fight against terrorism in a Sunday speech on Islam in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, shying away from his harsher comments against the religion on the campaign trail.

Mr. Trump said the U.S. will not "impose" an American way of life on the Muslim-majority nations represented in the room where he gave his speech, while calling on them to unite in the global fight against terrorism. 

Notably, the president did not utter the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism," words former President Obama declined to use during his time in office but that Mr. Trump used frequently on the campaign trail. Mr. Trump emphasized the fight against terrorism isn't a battle between different faiths, but "battle between good and evil" -- and a battle that other Muslim nations must lead. The president called on Muslim nations to "drive them (terrorists) out of your Holy Land, and drive the out of this earth."

"Muslim nations must be willing to take on terrorism and send its wicked ideology into oblivion," Mr. Trump said.

"Barbarism will bring you no glory," Mr. Trump continued. "Piety to evil will bring you no dignity."

"If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty. Your life will be brief. And your soul will be fully condemned," the president said, in one of his strongest statements in the speech.

The president drew clear lines between the religion of Islam, and those who use Islam for extremist purposes.

"Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death," Mr. Trump said.

The president refrained from going off script, as he is often known to do, and instead largely stuck to a prepared speech that pundits said could have easily been given by another Republican president like George W. Bush.

The president's speech also referenced the $110 billion arms deal he signed with Saudi Arabia Saturday, a move that strengthens the alliance between the two countries in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and further distances the U.S. from Iran. The president had harsh words for Iran, Saudi Arabia's adversary, in his speech, condemning the country's support of terrorism. The president called on the representatives of nations present to "isolate" Iran.

Mr. Trump ended his speech with a call to bring about another "renaissance" to the Middle East, the birthplace of civilization and a place so "rich" in natural resources.  

"If we leave this magnificent room unified and determined to do what it takes to destroy the terror that threatens the world, then there is no limit to the great future our citizens will have," Mr. Trump concluded.

Later on Sunday, the president will host a Twitter forum with young Saudis. After the stop in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Trump is scheduled to visit Israel, the West Bank, the Vatican and Belgium.

The president's first speech abroad comes amid political turmoil back home. Moments after Air Force One took off on Friday, reports broke that the president told Russian diplomats that firing "nut job" FBI Director James Comey was a relief, and that a current senior adviser in the White House is a significant person of interest in the law enforcement probe into any connections between Russia and Trump associates. 

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was ousted in February for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials, and Mr. Trump reportedly asked Comey to drop his investigation into Flynn. Last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller will be the special counsel in charge of the FBI's Russia investigation. 

Below are live updates from the speech, given Sunday. 


11:04 a.m. EST/ 6:04 p.m. local time: President Trump concludes his remarks, to applause. The speech lasted roughly 33 minutes.

11:02 a.m. EST / 6:02 p.m. local time: President Trump says "billions" of faces are looking at the leaders in that room, wondering if they will protect them from terror. 

"If we leave this magnificent room unified and determined to do what it takes to destroy the terror that threatens the world, then there is no limit to the great future our citizens will have," Mr. Trump said. 

"The birthplace of civilization is waiting to begin a new renaissance."

10:56 a.m. EST / 5:56 p.m. local time: President Trump had some of his harshest words for Iran, saying that nation funds terrorists and extremist groups that spread destruction.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has committed serious crimes, Mr. Trump said. The president said the Iranian regime's "longest-suffering victims" are its own people. Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner of peace, all nations must work to isolate Iran, Mr. Trump said.

"The decisions we make will affect countless lives," Mr. Trump said. 

10:52 a.m. EST / 5:52 p.m. local time: The president said all the nations present at his speech will sign an agreement prohibiting all financing of terrorism. 

The president said those nations must stand together against the murder of innocent Muslims, oppression of women, persecution of Jews and slaughter of Christians.

"Barbarism will bring you no glory," Mr. Trump said. "Piety to evil will bring you no dignity."

"If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty. Your life will be brief. And your soul will be fully condemned," the president said, in one of his strongest statements in his speech thus far. 

10:49 a.m. EST / 5:49 p.m. local time: The president called for all Middle East nations to combat against terrorism. 

"Muslim nations must be willing to take on terrorism and send its wicked ideology into oblivion," Mr. Trump said. 

Every country in the region must be sure no terrorists find "sanctuary" on their soil, the president said. 

10:43 a.m. EST / 5:43 p.m. local time: President Trump said the Middle East is a "rich" land of natural resources, but it is "held at bay by bloodshed and terror." 

"(The Middle East) should increasingly become one of the great global centers of commerce and opportunity," the president said, adding the region shouldn't be a place refugees flee, but to which newcomers "flock."

"The potential of this region has never, ever been greater," he added. 

10:37 a.m. EST / 5:37 p.m. local time: The president lauded the $110 billion arms deal signed with the Saudis Saturday. Mr. Trump said he will help the Saudis to get the best deals on military defense equipment from American defense companies, which are the "greatest" in the world. 

10:33 a.m. EST / 5:33 p.m. local time: "I stand before you as a representative of the American people to deliver a message of friendship, and hope and love." That, says Mr. Trump, is why he made his first foreign trip a visit to the "heart" of the Muslim world. 

Mr. Trump said America will not try to "impose" its way of life on other nations.

"Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God," Mr. Trump said. 

10:31 a.m. EST / 5:31 p.m. local time: President Trump takes the microphone, thanking King Salman for being met with such "gracious hosts." Mr. Trump said words do not do justice to the grandeur of the place. 

10:27 a.m. EST / 5:27 p.m. local time: Salman pledged Saudi Arabia will be "firm" in prosecuting anyone who funds terrorism. Salman said his nation is committed to confronting extremism and terrorism, and achieving a prosperous life. 

10:24 a.m. EST / 5:24 p.m. local time: Iran has violated principles of international law and co-existence, Salman says. "We do not hold (the Iranian) people responsible for the actions of their regime," he adds. 

10:19 a.m. EST / 5:19 p.m. local time: Saudi Arabian King Salman introduces President Trump, thanking the president for making Saudi Arabia his first stop. Salman said some Muslims are portraying a "distorted" picture of the religion, with "violence." There is "no honor" in committing murder," he said. The way to achieve life in heaven is a promotion of tolerance and "refraining" from "destroying and corrupting Earth."