President Obama on Tuesday unleashed harsh criticism of likely Republican nominee Donald Trump, without ever saying his name. The president took particular aim at Trump’s repeated proposals to ban Muslims from entering into the United States, and criticism of the president himself for not using the words “Islamic extremism.”
“What exactly would using this label accomplish?” the president asked during an address following a meeting with his National Security Council on Tuesday. “Would it make ISIL less committed to killing Americans?” the president said, adding “calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.”
In an impassioned speech, the president seemed to take on Trump’s policy proposals, without mentioning him by name, saying that law enforcement and intelligence officials spend “countless hours protecting all Americans,” adding “including politicians who tweet, and appear on cable news shows.”
Focusing on the need to use certain words is “a political talking point, it’s not a strategy,” the president said.
If we “paint all Muslims with a broad brush,” Obama said, then “we are doing the terrorist’s work for them.” Calling on a ban to block Muslims from entering into the United States is not effective national security policy, the president said, if nothing else because in the case of San Bernardino, one of the shooters was born in the U.S., and in the case of the Orlando massacre, the shooter was born and raised in the United States.
“Where does this stop?” the president said, “are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently?” he asked, adding will we be “discriminating against them because of their faith?”
“That’s not the America we want,” President Obama said, adding “it won’t make us more safe. It’ll make us less safe.” If the U.S. begins to single out immigrants, or people based on their faith, the president said, “then the terrorists would have won.”