After previously claiming total victory over ISIS, President Trump admitted Monday it was impossible to say the terrorist organization had been wiped out while the threat of terrorism remains.

Speaking at a gathering of business leaders in Burnsville, Minn., Trump said his administration had made significant progress in the Middle East, including capturing 100% of ISIS territory. But he stopped short of previous declarations of total victory which had provoked criticism that lingering fighters and a hostile ideology remained a danger.

“You never say you won, because you have a couple of whack jobs go and blow up a store, people get killed; they blow up something else, people get killed,” he said

“They are crazy, they are whacky, they are bad people and we are going to make sure it happens as little as possible, but you can never claim victory because you always have a nut job someplace that’s going to do something.”

In December, Trump declared victory over ISIS to explain why the U.S. was pulling most of its troops out of Syria.

Frequent Twitter updates and statements on progress followed.

At the start of February, he tweeted: "We will soon have destroyed 100% of the Caliphate."

Two weeks later: "We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!"

At times he talked about capturing 100% of its territory but at other times declared the group was “100% defeated."

Those comments stood in contrast to those of Trump’s own commanders, who warned the group’s battle-hardened fighters remained a threat.

Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of the U.S. military's Central Command, said in February it was vital to maintain vigilance against “the now largely dispersed and disaggregated [ISIS] that retains leaders, fighters, facilitators, resources and the profane ideology that fuels their efforts."

On Monday, Trump sought to clarify his comments.

“Well we do have 100% of the land, of the area,” he said. “We took it over very quickly. But you always have somebody out there, so we don’t want to be put in a position where we say 100% and then somebody gets killed by a mad maniac.”