Trump seldom if ever mentioned al-Baghdadi or Soleimani on the campaign trail, and the pattern continued into his presidency.

In a 2017 tweet, he falsely claimed that The New York Times had published information that foiled al-Baghdadi’s capture. Trump briefly uttered al-Baghdadi’s name during his 2018 State of the Union address, but as a way to fault previous administrations. “In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi,” he said.

The claim was misleading. After al-Baghdadi was in American custody in 2004, the United States handed him over to Iraqi authorities.

That was about it. Between January 2017 and October 2019, Trump talked and tweeted far more about Hillary Clinton than about the men whose deaths he would order. When he did discuss the killings, he stepped on his own story.