President Donald Trump marked the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on their 16th anniversary as a moment the nation awakened to the depravity of its modern enemies.
“Not only did the world change,” Trump said at a memorial service at the Pentagon on Monday. “We all changed: Our eyes were opened to the depth of evil we faced.”
Trump, who was propelled to office in part by promises of a tougher response to terrorism, used his first presidential appearance at an anniversary ceremony for the attacks to portray the threat of Islamist terrorism as historic in scale and to signal resolve to fight them.
“These are horrible, horrible enemies — enemies like we’ve never seen before,” Trump said, adding, “We are making plain to these savage killers that there is no dark corner beyond our reach.”
Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a memorial ceremony in Shanksville, where United Flight 93 crashed after a struggle between passengers and terrorists.
Trump stressed terrorism as a central theme of his presidential campaign as public concern was stoked by attacks in Paris in November 2015; San Bernardino, California, in December 2015; and Orlando, Florida in June 2016. He promised to develop a plan to defeat Islamic State within 30 days of taking office and a ban on Muslims entering the country.
As president, he imposed a partial ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of six predominantly Muslim nations. He also authorized an increase in U.S. military forces in Afghanistan and the dropping of a massive explosive nicknamed the “Mother Of All Bombs” on a suspected Islamic State camp in Afghanistan.