President Obama today delivered and emotional rebuttal to Donald Trump, castigating the presumptive Republican nominee for his proposals to ban Muslim immigration and for his call on Muslims to do more to expose terrorists within their communities.
Obama spoke at the Treasury Department following a meeting with his national security team:
We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States to bar all Muslims from emigrating to America. We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests that entire religious communities are complicit in violence. Where does this stop? The Orlando killer, one of the San Bernardino killers, the Fort Hood killer — they were all U.S. citizens.
Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith? We’ve heard these suggestions during the course of this campaign. Do Republican officials actually agree with this? Because that’s not the America we want. It doesn’t reflect our democratic ideals. It won’t make us more safe; it will make us less safe — fueling ISIL’s notion that the West hates Muslims, making young Muslims in this country and around the world feel like no matter what they do, they’re going to be under suspicion and under attack. It makes Muslim Americans feel like their government is betraying them. It betrays the very values America stands for.
Obama also dismissed criticism that he doesn’t call the terrorists committing attack again the United States and others in the West by their proper name, radical Islamists:
Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.
There has not been a moment in my seven and a half years as President where we have not been able to pursue a strategy because we didn’t use the label “radical Islam.” Not once has an advisor of mine said, man, if we really use that phrase, we’re going to turn this whole thing around. Not once.
Groups like ISIL and al Qaeda want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. . . . if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush and imply that we are at war with an entire religion — then we’re doing the terrorists’ work for them.
And of course, after detailing the steps being taken to slowly defeat ISIS, Obama suggested that gun control could help stem further attacks.
Here’s the video. Obama’s remarks on gun control and his reaction to his critics, including Trump, begin at about the 10:40 mark.