Arizona Democrat Party Chairman Felecia Rotellini falsely claimed on Saturday that President Donald Trump “has aligned himself with ISIS,” a remark that was made as Trump and other top officials prepared to gather in the White House Situation Room to watch U.S. forces kill ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Rotellini made the false claim during a panel discussion at the Citizens Clean Elections Commission’s “We the Voters” conference at the Phoenix Convention Center.
At approximately 3:45 EST, Rotellini said, “another reason that people are going to vote [is] because Donald Trump is manipulating that White House and has aligned himself with ISIS…”
Arizona Democrat Party Chairman Felecia Rotellini: Trump “has aligned himself with ISIS”
Rotellini made the remarks on Saturday, approximately 1-hour before a Trump-authorized raid in northern Syria resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi pic.twitter.com/lyYraFg6Eq
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) October 29, 2019
Approximately an hour later, Trump and his advisers gathered in the Situation Room to watch as U.S. forces closed in on al-Baghdadi in northern Syria.
The panel also featured Republican Party of Arizona Chairwoman Dr. Kelli Ward, Arizona Libertarian Party Chairman Howard Blitz, and Arizona Green Party First Vice Chair Amee Beck.
Ward immediately pushed back on Rotellini’s false claim, saying: “I have to say, that is not true. That is not true.”
In a statement to The Daily Wire, Ward again slammed Rotellini for her false claim, saying that her remarks were “wildly irresponsible and not rooted in reality.”
“It is extremely disconcerting to hear the top Democrat in Arizona slander and malign an innocent person for being aligned with the world’s most evil terrorists, let alone the President of the United States,” Ward said. “While fear-mongering from the Left is expected up to a point, we have to draw the line somewhere if they’re going to refuse to police themselves. Baseless statements like those made by the chair of the Arizona Democrat party are wildly irresponsible and not rooted in reality.”
Trump has made combating ISIS one his top priorities since becoming president and reports that were published only a few months after he took office documented how the fight against ISIS had become more significantly more successful under his administration.
“Nearly a third of territory reclaimed from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since 2014 has been won in the past six months, due to new policies adopted by the Trump administration,” The Washington Post reported in August 2017. “Brett McGurk, the State Department’s senior envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, said that steps President Trump has taken, including delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to commanders in the field, have ‘dramatically accelerated’ gains against the militants.”
“Although the Trump administration has yet to announce its new strategy for the campaign against the Islamic State, McGurk cited ‘key changes’ under Trump,” The Washington Post continued. “In addition to the delegation of decision-making authority, which he said has allowed much greater responsiveness to opportunities and changing circumstances, he cited a ‘campaign of annihilation’ that has concentrated on surrounding cities held by the militants before launching offensives, to ensure that no militants will escape.”
Trump has recently called on other nations to join the fight against ISIS around the world and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted in a recent interview that while ISIS has been significantly damaged by U.S.-led efforts, they are not completely defeated and the fight against ISIS needs to continue.