Obama tries reassuring Americans, calls California attacks ‘an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people’
WASHINGTON D.C. (Dec. 6, 2015) – In only his third primetime address from the Oval Office, President Barack Obama tried to reassure a worried nation Sunday night after last week’s terrorist attack in California.
“It is clear the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West,” Obama said.
Obama didn’t announce a major shift in strategy or sweeping new policy to defeat ISIS.
Instead the president underscored the administration’s continued efforts to deploy U.S. special operation forces, along with equipping Iraqi and Syrian forces to fight ISIS on the ground.
Critics have long argued the administration’s approach isn’t working.
“We constantly examine our strategy to determine when additional steps are needed to get the job done,” Obama said. “That’s why I’ve ordered the departments of state and Homeland Security to review the visa waiver program under which the female terrorist in San Bernardino originally came to this country.”
President Obama did call on Congress to pass new gun control legislation, ensure anyone on the no-fly list can’t buy a gun and vote to essentially declare war against ISIS.
“ISIL does not speak for Islam,” Obama said. “They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of a more than billion Muslims around the world.”
Critics were quick to respond to Sunday night’s address.
“We will defeat ISIS but we cannot do so by continuing the current approach,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “The path laid out by President Obama and supported by Hillary Clinton has not worked, and ISIS has only gained strength.”
Obama spent the latter-half of his speech urging Americans to not give into fear or discriminate against Muslims.
“That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities,” Obama said. “It’s a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse.”