Neither former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nor President Barack Obama mentioned “Islam” or “radical Islam” in their responses to the Nice terror attack on Thursday.
A statement released by Clinton on Twitter referred to “terrorism” but not “radical Islam.”
Clinton called into The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News on Thursday evening — a rare foray by the presumptive Democratic nominee.
She mentioned “this is a war against these terrorist groups, these radical jihadist groups,” but did not ascribe the attacks directly to “Islam” or “radical Islam.”
For many months, Clinton refused to acknowledge the role of radical Islam in terror. In a November presidential primary debate, held in the immediate aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, she declined to say “radical Islam” because she said doing so would be “painting with too broad a brush.”
On Twitter, she said at the time that Muslims “have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism,” refusing to distinguish between Muslims in general and radical Muslims in particular.
"Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 19, 2015
In December, she reiterated that she would not use the term “radical Islam” because she believed “sounds like we are declaring war against a religion.”
In June, under pressure from presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, she acknowledged “radical Islamism” for the first time.
President Barack Obama released a statement Thursday calling the Nice event a “terrorist attack” but failing to mention “radical Islam”:
On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded. I have directed my team to be in touch with French officials, and we have offered any assistance that they may need to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice. We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack.
On this Bastille Day, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world, and we know that the character of the French Republic will endure long after this devastating and tragic loss of life.
Trump referred to radical Islam in his reaction to the attacks, though he was circumspect, given the new flood of details in the wake of attacks. He told O’Reilly that it was still possible Obama might change his mind and refer to “radical Islamic terror.”
In a public statement late at night following the Nice attacks, French President François Hollande said: “All of France is under threat from Islamist terrorism.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.