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  1. ITV Report

'Mission Accomplished: Donald Trump defends use of infamous phrase

Donald Trump said the air strikes on Syria were 'perfectly carried out'. Credit: PA

US President Donald Trump has defended the use of the phrase "Mission Accomplished" to describe the success of US-led air strikes on Syria.

On Saturday, President Trump tweeted: "A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!"

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In May 2003, President George W Bush stood on an aircraft carrier under a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner and declared that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended" - just six weeks after the invasion.

But the war dragged on for many years after that and the banner became a symbol of US misjudgments and mistakes in the long and costly conflict.

Mr Trump seized on coverage of the tweet on Sunday, again taking to Twitter to take aim at the "Fake News Media".

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President Bush was heavily criticised for the 2003 banner.

George W Bush on the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003. Credit: PA

After shifting explanations, the White House eventually said the "Mission Accomplished" phrase referred to the carrier's crew completing its 10-month mission, not the military completing its mission in Iraq.

President Bush, in October 2003, disavowed any connection with the "Mission Accomplished" message.

He said the White House had nothing to do with the banner; a spokesman later said the ship's crew asked for the sign and the White House staff had it made by a private vendor.

Former White House press secretary Dana Perino said in 2008: "We have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner."