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WH official says ‘exhaustion’ led to President Trump’s ‘gaffe’ in Saudi Arabia, to the surprise of his own staff

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During his monumental speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday, President Donald Trump surprised even his own staff with one key phrase.

The president stuck mainly to the script for most his historic speech, but his inclusion of “Islamic terrorism” came as a shock to some.

According to a senior White House official, the president went off of the originally more measured tone of his prepared remarks, simply because he was “exhausted.

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President Donald Trump delivers a speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“He’s just an exhausted guy,” the official told reporters on Sunday, the Hill reported.

The president planned to be softer than he was on the campaign trail, using “Islamist extremism” rather than “radical Islamic terrorism.”

But during the speech the president told the Middle Eastern leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia that they have to confront “Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.”

The phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” was a focal point during the campaign as it highlighted a shift in confronting terror.

Former President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to use the terms, claiming that it castigated the entire religion.

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But President Trump, and conservatives, insisted that using the term was necessary to confront, and defeat, the enemy.

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Carmine Sabia


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