Amid President Donald Trump's claim of keeping his promise of a 100 percent defeat of the ISIS caliphate in Syria, "the ISIS threat will remain," according to National Security Adviser John Bolton.
"The president has been I think as clear as clear can be when he talks about the defeat of the ISIS territorial caliphate," Bolton told ABC's "This Week." "He has never said that the elimination of the territorial caliphate means the end of ISIS in total. We know that's not the case.
"We know right now that there are ISIS fighters scattered still around Syria and Iraq, and that ISIS itself is growing in other parts of the world. The ISIS threat will remain."
President Trump had attempted to keep a campaign promise to withdraw U.S. troops out of Syria, but he has been persuaded to keep some there to root out lone-wolf attacks from the terrorist organization.
"But one reason that the president has committed to keeping an American presence in Iraq and a small part of an observer force in Syria, is against the possibility that there would be a real resurgence of ISIS, and we would then have the ability to deal with that if that arose," Bolton told host Martha Raddatz. "So, I think people have to be clear."
Bolton added that while the ISIS threat could remain, President Trump would not be wrong to say the caliphate is destroyed, because, by definition, ISIS no longer holds territory in Syria even if the ideology persists in the minds of some terrorists.
"And the importance of the territorial caliphate goes to an ideological point at the center of ISIS's theory of itself, namely that they were a caliphate because under their view of what a caliphate is, you have to control territory," Bolton said.
". . . The ISIS threat, the al-Qaida threat, the terrorist threat is an ideological threat worldwide and it's something that I think we have to be vigilant against for the forseeable future. That's the reality."