In his 9/11 address at the Pentagon on Wednesday, President Trump vowed his administration would launch a major military assault if terrorists were to ever “come back” to the U.S. “for any reason.”
“I’m not even talking about nuclear power,” Trump said, as the nation marked the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. “They will have never seen anything like what will happen to them.”
He added, “If anyone dares to strike our land we will respond with the full measure of American power and the iron will of the American spirit.”
Trump’s tough-talk was in contrast to the apparent olive branch he offered to Taliban leaders when he invited them to the Camp David presidential resort in Maryland for top secret peace talks last weekend.
The president stunned world leaders when he announced Saturday that he had cancelled the previously unknown covert talks with Taliban leaders because the group claimed responsibility for a bombing in Afghanistan that killed an American service member.
Trump touched on the failed talks in his ominous Wednesday speech.
“We had peace talks scheduled a few days ago. I called them off when I learned that they had killed a great American soldier," Trump said.
Nine other Americans have died since June in Taliban-claimed attacks without the president taking any specific action.
The Taliban, a militant group in Afghanistan and Pakistan, harbored and protected Al Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks after hijackers killed nearly 3,000 people in Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.
Trump’s revelation that he had invited leaders of the group just before the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks sparked widespread outrage, including from Republicans.
“We cannot trust the Taliban in good faith negotiations,” U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, tweeted over the weekend. “We must keep the pressure on them so we can prevent the resurgence of terrorism.”