A PRESIDENT IN DENIAL
by William Doino Jr.
6 . 20 . 16
After the June 12th massacre in Orlando, the deadliest act of terrorism in the United States since 9/11, many Americans hoped that President Obama would say something healing and unifying to the nation. Given how polarized our nation has become, this would naturally prove challenging. But surely the President should at least try.
And in his first remarks following the massacre, he did try—asking for prayers for the victims and their families, conveying “the condolences of the entire American people” to the city’s mayor, and affirming, “We will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.”
His subsequent remarks on Tuesday were far more jarring. Facing criticism for not acknowledging the reality of “radical Islam”—something that even Hillary Clinton has now done—the President launched into a tirade against his critics, laying bare his partisan inability to rise to the occasion. Angry, bitter, self-serving, Obama succeeded in doing something many thought him incapable of: acting like Donald Trump.
He began on a generous note, expressing support for the victims and their families. From there his speech went downhill.
Obama was at pains to stress how committed his administration is to fighting terrorism: “We are doing everything in our power to stop these kind of attacks.” But if that is true, how is it possible that the FBI had monitored the Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen, for years, only to abandon its surveillance of him, clearing the way for his attack? And why, in a country and under an administration that sanctions the slogan, “If you see something, say something,” were the warnings of a co-worker about Mateen’s fanatical views ignored?