When the Pew Research Center asked registered voters in summer 2016 what the top issues influencing their votes were, 80 percent said that terrorism was “very important,” more than any issue but the economy. In summer 2020, the issue wasn’t even on the list.
The tenure of President Donald Trump has proven catastrophic for what was, at the time of his inauguration, considered the most dangerous terrorist organization on the planet: the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), which had split from its parent group al-Qaeda with only two years left to the Obama administration and established its “caliphate” on June 29, 2014.
The Trump era, which resulted in both the demise of the “caliphate” and “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, experienced an over 60-percent drop in the number of casualties attributable to the core Islamic State group, according to a Breitbart News analysis of data from the State Department’s Annual Country Reports on Terrorism. Under President Barack Obama, ISIS beheaded at least four times the number of civilians as under Trump, despite the fact that ISIS in its current state was founded with less than three years left in Obama’s tenure.
Breitbart News tallied the total number of both deaths and injuries (“casualties”) beginning in early 2014, when the Islamic State split from al-Qaeda, through 2016 as casualties during the Obama era. Those from the beginning of 2017 through 2019, the last year for which data is available, fell under the Trump era.
The State Department’s report documented 41,213 casualties and 3,174 terrorism incidents attributable to core ISIS (not affiliate groups or ISIS-inspired individuals) during the Obama era. Under Trump, the report listed up to 15,728 casualties and 2,079 incidents, representing an estimated 62-percent drop in casualties and a 35-percent drop in incidents.
Breitbart News tallied the number of known civilian beheadings attributable to core ISIS documented by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a non-profit that tracks political violence and unrest around the world, using similar timeframes as noted above for general casualties. ACLED identified 46 beheadings of civilians between January 2016, the earliest date in which such data was available, and January 19, 2017, the end of the Obama administration. Since Trump has been in office (including so far in 2020), that number has dropped to 12.