TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Delivering his final major national security speech before leaving office, President Barack Obama addressed troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, home to U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Central Command.
The president received a warm welcome from the troops he’s commanded for almost eight years.READ MORE: New York AG: Trump Organization Misled Banks And Tax Officials
He applauded their progress combating al Qaeda, calling the terror network a “shadow of its former self.”
He said the United States built a “network of partners” to help fight extremists, which is “breaking the back” of ISIS without committing American ground troops.
Donald Trump has called radical Islam a threat that could destroy America, but Obama made it clear Tuesday that he sees it differently, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
“Today’s terrorists can kill innocent people, but they don’t pose an existential threat to our nation and we must not make the mistake of elevating them as if they do,” he said. “That does their job for them, it makes them more important and it helps them with recruitment.”READ MORE: Father Speaks Out After Children Spit On In Antisemitic Incident In Brooklyn: 'For An Adult To Do It To A Child Is Beyond Crazy'
Obama also defended the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump has called “lousy” and has promised to dismantle.
Before taking the stage for his speech, Obama met with top military leaders at the base, including Gen. Raymond Thomas, who heads U.S. Special Operations Command. He also told about 250 U.S. service members gathered in a gym that it had been the privilege of his lifetime to serve as their commander in chief.
“I have been consistently in awe of your performance and the way you carried out your missions,” he said.
Obama noted that he is poised to become the first president to serve two full terms at war.MORE NEWS: WATCH LIVE NOW: President Biden Press Conference
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