President Obama lashed out at Donald Trump on Tuesday, criticizing his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States and his attacks on the White House’s handling of the war on terror.
Obama took aim at Trump’s criticism of his refusal to use the phrase “radical Islam,” calling it a “political distraction.”
“What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change?” Obama asked. “Would it make ISIL less committed to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there any military strategy that is served by this? he asked. “The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.”
The president spoke passionately when discussing law enforcement’s efforts to stop terrorism. “They know full well who the enemy is. So do the intelligence and law enforcement officers who spent countless hours disrupting plots and protecting all Americans, including politicians who tweet and appear on cable news shows,” he said.
Obama spoke following a meeting with his National Security Council at the Treasury Department, where he received an update on the investigation of the Orlando nightclub shooting.
The Orlando shooting provoked Trump’s harshest attacks against the White House and Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.
In speech on Monday, Trump called for tougher immigration laws which let the shooter’s parents come to the United States from Afghanistan. Omar Mateen, the shooter, was born in the United States.
President Obama slammed Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigrants, “This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion. We don’t have any religious tests here,” Obama said.
“If we ever abandon those values, we would not only make it easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things that we are trying to protect. I will not let that happen.”