Trump’s vows to destroy ISIS — and his denunciations of the Obama administration for failing to get the job done — were a centerpiece of his campaign. He promised to “quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS” and to “blow up every single inch” of its territory until there was “nothing left,” while declaring in a foreign policy speech in April that “ISIS will be gone if I’m elected president. And they’ll be gone quickly.” It was a message that also featured prominently in Trump’s inaugural address last Friday. “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism,” he said, “which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.”
Yet many of the fighters living in ISIS territory believe the Trump administration will be good for them, the current and former members said. One reason they cited for this optimism was Trump’s divisiveness within America, which they believed would weaken the country. Trump took office on Friday with an approval rating of around 40%, according to polls from Gallup, CNN, Fox News and others, the lowest of any incoming US president since at least the 1940s.
ISIS also sees Trump as an ideal enemy for propaganda purposes, the former and current members of the group said, believing that his campaign’s heated rhetoric about Muslims will help the extremist group with recruitment by reinforcing its central narrative that America and the West are at war with Islam. “Trump announced his hatred of Arabs and Muslims and did not hide it as presidents did before him,” an ISIS official based outside the city of Palmyra said, speaking via an encrypted chat service.