President Barack Obama is expected to make a statement Monday from the Pentagon after being briefed by top security officials about U.S. efforts in the Middle East against the Islamic State terrorist group. The Pentagon visit was a rare one for the president, who hasn’t made an appearance there since October 2014.
Obama’s remarks, slated for 4 p.m. EDT, come amid criticism that the White House has been too soft in its response to ISIS, despite the administration defending its strategy in the Middle East. The meeting follows a weekend of U.S. airstrikes in eastern Syria, considered one of the most sustained airstrike operations against ISIS to date, according to the Associated Press.
Officials called the president’s Pentagon visit routine. “[The president] will be getting an update on the broader counter ISIL campaign from senior [Defense Department] leadership and some other members of his national security team—no new announcements are expected,” a senior defense official told the Wall Street Journal. ISIL is another acronym for the Islamic State, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. “This is just an opportunity for the president to do a status check on the various components of the campaign,” the official said.
Watch a live stream of the president’s remarks Monday here, at the official White House website, or below.