Right before the attack in California happened, President Obama explained to CBS’s Norah O’Donnell that America was safe from the Islamic State and urged Americans to feel safe.
“ISIL is not going to pose an existential threat to us,” he said, insisting that although they were a “dangerous organization,” the country had strengthened national security under his administration.
Obama taped his interview with O’Donnell on Wednesday, right before the attacks occurred. The interview was aired on CBS this morning.
“[W]e have hardened our defenses, our homeland has never been more protected by more effective intelligence and law enforcement professionals at every level than they are now,” he said, prior to the attack in San Bernardino later that day.
The White House extended the interview with O’Donnell after news broke of the attack, allowing him to respond to what was then described as another mass shooting event.
Obama was careful to clarify in the interview that there was always a possibility for attacks but encouraged Americans to feel safe.
“The American people should feel confident that we’re going to be able to defend ourselves and make sure that we have a good holiday season and go about our lives,” he said in the taped interview that was aired this morning.
He also urged Americans to respond properly in the wake of an attack, warning them against responding with fear.
“I said this repeatedly overseas, ISIL only wins if we react out of fear and start changing how we live, violating our values,” he said. “They can’t win on the battlefield. They can kill some innocent people but that’s not a victory for them if we respond appropriately.”