Donald Trump’s top supporter in Congress on Wednesday defended his recent statements that he will order generals to develop a plan to defeat ISIS in the first 30 days of his administration, saying the candidate was not contradicting himself.
Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions defended his party’s nominee in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” when pressed about what happened to a “foolproof” plan to defeat ISIS that the candidate had spoken of in 2015.
“This can be done, and Donald Trump is saying clearly and unequivocally and consistently we’re going to target ISIS first,” Sessions said. “I don’t think he ever doubted he’d be talking to the generals about how to achieve it.”
Tapper then played a clip in which Trump claimed he had a secret “foolproof” plan to beat the terrorist group.
“Did he not have a plan to begin with, or does he think that these generals whom he’s said ‘don’t know much’ are going to come up with a better plan than he concocted?” Tapper asked.
Sessions maintained that a Trump administration would defeat ISIS.
“These statements he made during the campaign some months ago, a year ago, are not controlling,” Sessions said.
“I gather he didn’t actually have a plan in 2015?” Tapper said.
“You’re having fun with this argument, OK?” Sessions replied. “You can keep talking about it, but the American people are concerned about what we are going to do. I have no doubt he had a lot of ideas about how he had planned to deal with this confrontation with ISIS and he’s going to work with our military generals to firm that up.”
Sessions also denied that the two positions were contradictory.
“I don’t think it’s a fundamental contradiction at all,” Sessions said.
Tapper pressed the Republican senator to give an example of something the current administration and military leadership has not done that Trump would have pursued to fight ISIS.
Sessions replied that the military needs to be “unleashed.”
“There are a lot of things that are policy decisions that you reach based on the priorities that you have, and I believe that had we unleashed the military and given them more ability to function they could have been more effective in fighting ISIS already,” Sessions said.
Later on “The Situation Room,” Trump adviser retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn echoed Sessions’ call to “unleash” the military, but declined to go into specifics.
“There are people (now) that know that we could do more in our military for sure, and I know we could do far more on the ideological front and we could do far more on the financial front,” Flynn told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I think that what they need to be able to do is they need to be able to unleash our military capabilities as well as other capabilities we have.”
Trump delivered a speech on Wednesday articulating his military policy, calling for increasing spending.