Absent from President Trump's major speech to leaders of Muslim countries could be the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism," his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster seemed to suggest on Saturday.
Speaking with "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos in an early-released clip, McMaster was asked if during his speech Sunday Trump would use that phrase, which he consistently hung over the heads of his 2016 election rival, Hillary Clinton, and former President Barack Obama for refusing to say it.
"You said the president wants to send this message of hope and tolerance to the Muslim world, we know he has this big speech as well. During the campaign he was very tough on what he consistently called 'radical Islamic terrorism,' so should we expect not to hear that phrase in this speech?" asked Stephanopoulos.
"Well I think what the president does, is he listens to people. He listens to people in the region and a big part of this, this isn't America just on transmit here in the Middle East. This is the president asking questions, listening, learning, and of course the president will call it whatever he wants to call it," McMaster answered.
McMaster then hinted that Trump may veer from his pointed campaign rhetoric and take a more diplomatic tone when he appears before the leaders of more than 50 Muslim and Arab countries during the event in Saudi Arabia.
"But I think it's important that whatever we call it, we recognize that these are not religious people and in fact, these enemies of all civilization, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under some false idea of a religious war," McMaster said. "But what I think the president will point out is the vast majority, the vast majority of victims from these people are Muslims and of course the Muslim world is very cognizant of that having born witness to and experienced directly this humanitarian catastrophe that is going on across the greater Middle East and beyond."
According to a draft of his speech obtained by the Associated Press, Trump will call for unity in the Muslim world in order to take on the challenge of radicalism. He will convey the struggle ahead as a "battle between good and evil," the report said.
The full interview with McMaster will air Sunday morning on ABC News.