WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday unleashed a blistering verbal assault on Donald Trump and his proposal for a ban on Muslims entering the country, saying the suggestion violates the principles of American democracy and dismissing the “yapping” from “politicians who tweet.”
Obama also angrily pushed back against criticism for not using the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” calling it “loose talk.”
“What exactly would using this language accomplish? What exactly would it change?” Obama asked during remarks at the Treasury Department. “Would it make ISIL less committed to try and kill Americans?” he continued, using a different acronym for ISIS.
“Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away.”
“The men and women who put their lives at risk and the Special Forces I ordered to get bin Laden and are now on the ground in Iraq and in Syria — they know full well who the enemy is,” Obama said. “So do the intelligence and law enforcement officers who spent countless hours disrupting plots. And protecting all Americans, including politicians who tweet, and appear on cable news shows. They know what the nature of the enemy is. So there’s no magic to the phrase ‘radical Islam.’ It’s a political talking point.”
Obama added, “This is a political distraction.”
“We have to make it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on weapons.” – Obama pic.twitter.com/GXrYbGM7ie
— FOX 5 San Diego (@fox5sandiego) June 14, 2016
He did not use Trump’s name, but his target was clear when he referred to the presumptive Republican nominee and called out Republican leaders for not opposing him.
Obama also called for Congress to pass tougher gun laws and the renewal of the assault weapons ban.
“We have to make it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on weapons of war that let them kill dozens of innocents,” Obama said. “Enough talking about being tough on terrorism. Actually be tough on terrorism.”
Obama, who opened his remarks by providing an update on the investigation into the Orlando terrorist attack over the weekend, said the U.S. currently does not have “any information to indicate that a foreign terrorist group directed the attack in Orlando.”
“It is increasingly clear, however, that the killer took in extremist information and propaganda over the Internet,” Obama said.”He appears to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized.”