Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended President Obama and White House officials for refusing to describe the terrorist attacks in Paris as a consequence of radical Islamic terrorism.
Earnest explained to White House reporters during the press briefing that this is a question of “accuracy.”
“We want to describe exactly what happened. These are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism, and they later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam in their own deviant view of it,” he said.
Critics of Obama have questioned his refusal to identify the terrorist actions as an act of radical Islamic terrorism.
“You cannot win a battle against radical Islamic terrorism if you’re unwilling to utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism,'” Sen. Ted Cruz said last June.
“[W]e have not chosen to use that label because it doesn’t seem to accurately describe what had happened,” Earnest said.
Earnest explained that the White House didn’t want to be in a position of “legitimizing” an “illegitimate justification” for violent actions, calling the ideology of the terrorists a “distorted deviant view of Islam.”
He reminded reporters that reports suggested one of the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris was a Muslim as well as one of the hostages at the Kosher grocery store.
He noted that the violent actions were “roundly condemned” by Muslim leaders in Paris and that French Muslims marched with French Jews and French Christians in opposition to the attacks.