In Orlando, Obama Plays Dumb About ISIS Terrorist’s Motives

In Orlando, Obama Plays Dumb About ISIS Terrorist’s Motives

President Obama visited Orlando Thursday to pay his respects to the 49 people who were killed in the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

In his remarks, Obama failed to mention the actual motivation for the terrorist attack: a radical Islamist terrorist who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State sought revenge against the United States for its foreign policy. In fact, Obama never once mentioned the words “Islam” or “jihad.” When the president did mention Islamist terror groups, such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, he described them not as adherents to a virulent ideology that demands genocide against non-Muslims, but as garden-variety groups that spread propaganda that sometimes influences mentally unstable people.

Here is how Obama described ISIS’s role in the Orlando terror attack (emphasis added):

So whatever the motivations of the killer, whatever influences led him down the path of violence and terror, whatever propaganda he was consuming from ISIL and Al Qaida, this was an act of terrorism, but it was also an act of hate. This was an attack on the LGBT community.

Notice how he skirts the killer’s self-described motivations: an allegiance to the Islamic State and a desire to kill on its behalf, which the killer made clear in a 911 call and another call to a news station during the attack. Instead, Obama describes the terrorist in almost victim-like terms, including passive-tense language, as if he were a vulnerable individual who was just walking around one day and became “radicalized” in the same way someone catches a cold.

Later in his speech, Obama blamed the attack on the terrorist’s ability to procure a gun. The president also blamed Republican lawmakers who refuse to pass Obama’s plan to eliminate due process protections provided by the Fifth Amendment. To Obama, the Second and Fifth Amendments–not violent, radical Islam or its practictioners–were the real perpetrators:

We can’t anticipate or catch every single deranged person that may wish to do harm to his neighbors or his friends or his coworkers or strangers. But we can do something about the amount of damage that they do. Unfortunately, our politics have conspired to make it as easy as possible for a terrorist or just a disturbed individual like those in Aurora and Newtown to buy extraordinarily powerful weapons, and they can do so legally.

[…]

The notion that the answer to this tragedy would be to make sure that more people in a nightclub are similarly armed to the killer defies common sense. Those who defend the easy accessibility of assault weapons should meet these families and explain why that makes sense.

When Obama did speak about the terrorist, Obama deliberately conflated him with the Newtown and Aurora shooters — neither of whom had any coherent ideology, connection to terror cells, or religious affiliations with Islam or any other religious belief system — while ignoring that the Orlando terrorist proactively declared his allegiance to ISIS and his desire to murder in the group’s name on behalf of the group’s stated goal of murdering infidels:

We can’t anticipate or catch every single deranged person that may wish to do harm to his neighbors or his friends or his coworkers or strangers. But we can do something about the amount of damage that they do. Unfortunately, our politics have conspired to make it as easy as possible for a terrorist or just a disturbed individual like those in Aurora and Newtown to buy extraordinarily powerful weapons, and they can do so legally.

[…]

Now, those who were killed and injured here were gunned down by a single killer with a powerful assault weapon. The motives of this killer may have been different than the mass shooters in Aurora or Newtown. But the instruments of death were so similar. And now another 49 innocent people are dead; another 53 are injured; some are still fighting for their lives; some will have wounds that will last a lifetime.

Obama is so eager to bury the killer’s allegiance to radical Islamism that he talks about the killer’s motivations as though they’re a mystery wrapped in an enigma, in spite of the fact that the terrorist repeatedly declared his motivations in clear English to anyone who would listen.

The president’s remarks in Orlando are only the latest instance of his deliberate refusal to say the words “radical Islam,” and that’s a problem. America needs a president who will accurately define the enemy, because you cannot defeat an enemy when you won’t even acknowledge its existence.

Bre Payton was a staff writer at The Federalist.
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