Donald Trump Says U.S. Will Continue Fighting ISIS After Claiming the Group Was Defeated

President Donald Trump has now said that the United States would continue to fight the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Syria, after he previously insisted that it had already been defeated.

Posting to Twitter on Monday morning, Trump slammed The New York Times for accurately reporting that his administration had stepped back from his December announcement that U.S. forces would immediately be withdrawn from Syria. "No different from my original statements, we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!" the president wrote.

The Failing New York Times has knowingly written a very inaccurate story on my intentions on Syria. No different from my original statements, we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!.....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2019

But on December 19 Trump tweeted: "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency." In a video post to his account the same day, the president also tweeted: "[The troops] are all coming back, and they're coming back now." He also stated plainly: "We have won against ISIS. We've beaten them, and we've beaten them badly."

Despite the proclamations of victory, Trump and top administration officials are now saying that the fight against the U.S.-designated terrorist organization would continue in Syria.

We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018

"We won't be finally pulled out until ISIS is gone," Trump said on Sunday. The president's national security adviser, John Bolton, also said that troops would remain in the Mediterranean nation until ISIS was defeated and protection for Washington's Kurdish allies had been secured, a process that could take many months or even years.

Nonetheless, Trump insisted in his Monday tweet that reporting the reversal was "very inaccurate."

The president's abrupt December decision to withdraw the U.S. from the conflict had met with significant pushback from within his own administration and the Republican Party. General James Mattis, who was serving as secretary of defense, announced his resignation, signaling his strong disagreement with the move. The U.S. envoy to forces fighting to defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk, also stepped down and multiple GOP lawmakers slammed Trump's announcement.

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A line of U.S. military vehicles drive through a checkpoint of the Internal Security Forces in Manbij as they head to their base on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city on December 30 DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, who is typically an ally to the president, called the decision "a huge Obama-like mistake" in a Twitter post. He also explained in a follow-up tweet that ISIS had not been fully defeated.

But some politicians have voiced support for Trump's decision, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, who recently announced she had launched an exploratory committee to run against the president in 2020. Last week, Warren told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that Trump was "right" to withdraw troops from the conflict. But she also criticized the abruptness of the decision, saying such a move should be discussed and planned appropriately with allies to "ensure safety and stability in the region."