President Donald Trump claimed that the Saturday killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by US forces was more significant than the US assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden under former President Barack Obama during a Sunday morning press conference.
"This is the biggest there is. This is the worst ever," Trump said. "Osama bin Laden was very big, but Osama bin Laden became big with the World Trade Center. This is a man who built a whole, as he would like to call it, a country, a caliphate, and was trying to do it again."
US forces killed bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in a 2011 raid in Pakistan under Obama's watch.
—Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 27, 2019
And Trump again falsely claimed that he "predicted" the threat Bin Laden posed to the US before 9/11 in his 2000 book, "The America We Deserve." He suggested to reporters on Sunday that if the US government had "listened to me," 9/11 wouldn't have happened.
"I wrote a book, a really very successful book, I said, there is somebody named Osama Bin Laden, you better kill him or take him out, something to that effect, he's big trouble," the president said on Sunday morning. "And I'm saying to people, take out Osama bin Laden, that nobody ever heard of … nobody listened to me … let's put it this way, if they'd listened to me, a lot of things would've been different."
The president also tweeted that false claim last November.
"Of course we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did. I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center," the president tweeted on November 19, 2018. "President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!"
And on the campaign trail in 2015, Trump also falsely claimed that he urged the US government to "take him out, referring to Bin Laden, before he "crawl[s] under a rock."
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2018
In fact, Trump made just one passing reference to Bin Laden in his book, which was more than 300 pages long. At the time, Bin Laden was well-known as one of the world's most dangerous terrorists and, as Trump wrote, had been pursued by US forces.
"One day we're all assured that Iraq is under control, the U.N. inspectors have done their work, everything's fine, not to worry. The next day the bombing begins," Trump wrote. "One day we're told that a shadowy figure with no fixed address named Osama bin Laden is public enemy number one, and U.S. jet fighters lay waste to his camp in Afghanistan. He escapes back under some rock, and a few news cycles later it's on to a new enemy and new crisis."
—Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) October 27, 2019