Kerry Claims ISIS Is 'On the Run' After Wave of Terrorist Attacks

July 17, 2016

CNN's Jake Tapper called out Secretary of State John Kerry's claim that the Islamic State is "on the run" Sunday on State of the Union after a wave of terrorist attacks around the world.

Tapper spoke with Kerry Sunday morning about the recent ISIS-inspired terror attack in Nice that left 84 dead and 304 injured. The two had a heated exchange debating the the success of the U.S.'s efforts to combat the Islamic State. He asked Kerry if the U.S. had any intelligence of the Islamic State's claim of the recent attack.

Kerry said the U.S. had no knowledge of the attacker, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, being radicalized previous to the attack. He said, "If you're a terrorist and particularly of , you know, one or two days vintage, you can just go out and do something very easily."

Kerry continued his response by touting the attack as a result of successful push-back efforts against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

"What we believe this indicates, however, is that ... ISIL in Syria and Iraq is under great, great pressure and people are acting out in various places, but they are not growing in their ability to do things. They are shrinking," Kerry said. "They are on the run, and I believe what we're seeing are the desperate actions of an entity that sees the noose closing around it."

Tapper disagreed with Kerry saying, "With all due respect, sir, I'm not sure it looks that way to the public, that ISIS is on the run."

The CNN host then proceeded to list off the recent terror attacks at the hands of ISIS in Orlando, Istanbul, Baghdad, and Nice saying, "This is just the last five weeks, and I don't think ISIS is on the run and might be expanding."

Then the exchange became tense. It seemed as though Kerry did not appreciate Tapper's critiques of his statement.

"Jake, it depends on where you mean ISIS," he said. "I don't know if this guy was actually ISIS and nor do you and we don't know that the guy in Orlando was fundamentally ISIS nor even told what to do by ISIS. If people are inspired, they're inspired."

"If you're saying that one person standing up one day and killing people is a reflection of ISIS moving in Iraq and Syria, I think you're dead wrong," Kerry added."We are doing everything in our power to put additional pressure on them and I believe their days are numbered."

Tapper continued to question Kerry's claim of the U.S's strategy, "You are doing everything you can do? I mean, there are a lot of people in the United States, in the Pentagon and the national security apparatus who have a number of suggestions as to what more could be done to put pressure and to eliminate the threat of ISIS."

"Correct," Kerry concluded.