President Barack Obama will address the nation tonight from the Oval Office at 8PM EST to respond to the Islamic terror attacks in San Bernardino last week—the biggest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.
Right before both the Paris and San Bernardino terror attacks, Obama minimized and downplayed the threat of terrorism in national interviews, even stating before the Paris attacks that ISIS, which Obama previously referred to as the “JV team,” was contained.
After Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and injured numerous others in San Bernardino last week, the left and the White House initially wanted to frame the mass murder as “workplace violence” and jumped to push more gun control. But so much evidence has surfaced about Farook and Malik that ties them Islamic terrorism that even a White House that insisted that the Fort Hood massacre was “workplace violence” had to concede that it “is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror” and that “several pieces” of evidence “point to the perpetrators being radicalized.”
Malik reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi shortly after the shootings and ISIS has praised the two for being “soldiers of the Caliphate” in their war against the West.
In a Saturday evening statement, the White House said that Obama “will reiterate his firm conviction that ISIL will be destroyed and that the United States must draw upon our values – our unwavering commitment to justice, equality and freedom – to prevail over terrorist groups that use violence to advance a destructive ideology.” On Sunday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on NBC, “I think what you’ll hear the president say is to call on the American people to not give into fear.”
“You may hear him call on Congress to review measures and take action as well,” she added.
This is just the third time that Obama has addressed the nation from the Oval Office during his presidency. And as Breitbart News White House reporter Charlie Spiering pointed out, “this is the first sign that the Obama White House is preparing to address the threat of terrorism seriously after appearing reluctant to define the attack in California as terrorism.”
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates of Obama’s address.
White House Issues Correction:
The White House issued a correction, saying that Obama should not have said that the female terrorist Tashfeen Malik entered via the visa-waiver program. In his Oval Office address, Obama said that the female terrorist Tashfeen Malik entered the country through the “visa waiver” program. She entered on a K-1 “fiancé visa.” The White House’s correction below:
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.
Donald Trump blasts Obama for refusing to say that America is at war with “RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS.”
Well, Obama refused to say (he just can’t say it), that we are at WAR with RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) blasted Obama’s address that was heavy on defending Muslim-Americans “President Obama’s address tonight failed to obscure what has become increasingly clear to the American people: that we are not winning the war against ISIL, and that the threat of terrorism against our homeland is real and growing. As the President said, America should never give in to fear. But neither should we fear to acknowledge the nature and severity of the threats we face and do everything within our power to confront them.” “President Obama is fond of invoking lessons of our nation’s recent wars. Yet the simplest and most important lesson is the one he failed to mention tonight: apocalyptic terrorists cannot be allowed to have sanctuary in ungoverned spaces from which to plan attacks against us. Yet after more than a year of an indecisive military campaign, ISIL maintains its sanctuaries in Iraq and Syria from which to conduct and inspire attacks like Paris and San Bernardino,” he continued. ““President Obama offered no changes to his reactive, indirect, and incremental strategy. He continues to assume that time is on our side. It is not. If we do not destroy this threat now, and fast, no one should be surprised if America gets attacked again. Whatever we would do in response to such an attack is what we should do now to prevent it. America needs a strategy to destroy ISIL as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that is not what President Obama described tonight.” — On CNN, Michael Weiss, the co-author of “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terorr,” said when asked what ISIS’s response will be said, “They’ll laugh, frankly.” He notes that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff essentially repudiated much of Obama’s arguments last week. He says he wishes Obama would admit that he screwed up. He said he hopes Obama could say, “I screwed up. I underestimated the threat. I called them the JV team well after I was briefed and knew what al-Qaeda in Iraq had been up to.” Weiss says that “his head’s in the clouds” if Obama thinks his current strategy to combat ISIS is actually succeeding.
Obama will indeed stand at a podium during his address, according to an Associated Press report. 8:17: Obama closes by saying that, “let’s make sure we never forget what makes us exceptional. Let’s not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear. That we have always met challenges–whether war or depression, national disasters or terrorist attacks–by coming together around our common ideals as one nation and one people. So long as we stay true to that tradition, I have no doubt that America will prevail.” 8:16: Obama says that it is the responsibility of Americans of all faith to reject discrimination and “religious tests on who we admit into this country. (A strong majority of Americans in numerous polls do not want more Syrian Muslim refugees after the Paris terror attacks.) “It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim-Americans should somehow be treated differently,” Obama says. “Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL.” Obama passionately says that Muslim-Americans are “our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes. And yes, they our our men and women in uniform willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.” 8:15: Obama: America Not at War with Islam: Obama says Americans cannot “turn against one another” by letting this fight “be defined as a war between America and Islam.” “That, too, is what groups like ISIL want,” he says. “ISIL does not speak for Islam. They’re 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, including millions of patriotic Muslim-Americans who reject their hateful ideology.” He also says that the “vast majority” of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim and “if we are to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our closest allies rather than push them away through suspicion and hate. That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. There’s a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al-Qaeda promote.” He calls on them to speak out against acts of violence and interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with “religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.” 8:15: Obama says we should not be drawn into long and costly ground wars in Iraq and Syria. He says ISIL believes they can maintain insurgencies for years if “we occupy foreign lands” to “use our presence to draw new recruits.” Obama points out that ISIL fighters were part of the insurgency that we faced in Iraq–and does not mention that the administration’s Iraq strategy emboldened and strengthened the “JV team.” 8:14: He calls for Congress to vote to authorize the continued use of military force if it believes “we are at war with ISIL.” “It’s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united and committed to this fight ” he says, noting that he has ordered over thousands of airstrikes. 8:13: Obama also says the country should put in place stronger screening measures for those who come to the country without a visa to make sure they have not traveled to war zones. 8:12: Obama perks up when talking about gun control–much more so than when speaking about Islamic terrorism—and says “we also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons–like the ones that were used in San Bernardino.” “I know there are some who reject any gun-safety measures,” he said. “But the fact is our intelligence and law enforcement agencies–no matter how effective they are–cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual is motivated by ISIL or some other hateful ideology. What we can do–and must do–is make it harder for them to kill.” 8:11: At home, Obama says that Congress should “act to make sure that no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun.” “What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terror suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon,” he says. “This is a matter of national security.” 8:10 Obama says he has ordered the Department of State and Homeland Security Department to review the visa-waiver program under which the female terrorist in San Bernardino originally came to the country. 8:09: Obama says that America’s military will hunt down terrorists around the world and provide training and equipment to Syrians and Iraqis fighting ISIL on the ground. He says America is also working with friends to disrupt ISIL’s planning and cut off its finances. He says America is cooperating with Muslim-majority countries and Muslims at home to combat the ideology ISIS is promoting online. He also speaks about pursuing a cease fire to the Syrian war so American and its allies can pursue a common goal to destroy ISIL. 8:08: Obama says the the “threat of terrorism is real, but we will overcome it.” “We will destroy ISIL and any organization that tries to harm us,” he says in an academic speech. “Our success won’t depend on tough talk, or abandoning our values, or giving into fear–that’s what groups like ISIL are hoping for.” He says America will overcome terrorism by being “strong and smart” and “resilient and relentless.” 8:07: He says he knows that Americans are worried that they are being confronted by a terror threat that seems like an incurable cancer. 8:06: Obama says ISIL has become stronger after the wars in Syria/Iraq and as the Internet erases the distance between countries. He says terrorists have poisoned the minds of the Boston Bombers and the San Bernardino terrorists. He says he has authorized U.S. forces to take out terrorist targets abroad because he realizes how great the danger is. 8:05: Obama tries to reassure Americans that the administration has “decimated” al-Qaeda and prevented complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11. He claims the terrorist threats have “evolved into a new phase” as terrorist turn to the type of “mass shootings that are all too common in our society.” He even cites the Fort Hood attacks in addition to the Chattanooga shooter, and the San Bernardino killers. 8:03: Obama refers to the San Bernardino massacre as an “act of terrorism” designed to kill innocent terrorism. He says the terrorists went “down the dark path of radicalization” and embraced a “perverted version of Islam” that calls for against the West and non-believers. 8:02: Obama says the terror victims were murdered by a “co-worker and his wife” and states there is no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization or a involved in a larger cell. 8:01 PM EST: Obama notes the diversity of the terror victims and says he would like to talk to Americans about the tragedy and how “we can keep the country safe.”
A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on