President Obama had to answer to a woman who said she lost her son “for acts of terrorism” about why he refuses to use the phrase “Islamic terrorism” — and once again the commander-in-chief insisted he doesn’t believe the term is appropriate.
“As a Gold Star mother, my son gave his life for acts of terrorism,” Tina Houchins told Obama at a CNN town hall that aired Wednesday night. “Do you still believe that the acts of terrorism are done for the self-proclaimed Islamic religious motive? And if you do, why do you still refuse to use the term … Islamic terrorist?”
Obama responded by saying he doesn’t want to “lump” the terrorists in with the good Muslims, and said Muslims around the world believe the term “Islamic terrorism” is an accusation against the entire religion.
“Do I think that if somebody uses the phrase Islamic terrorism that it’s a huge deal? No,” said Obama. “But I don’t want to validate what they do.”
“If you had an organization that was going around killing and blowing people up and said, ‘We’re on the vanguard of Christianity.’ As a Christian, I’m not going to let them claim my religion and say, ‘You’re killing for Christ.’ I would say, ‘That’s ridiculous,’” the president added.
“That’s not what my religion stands for. Call these folks what they are, which is killers and terrorists,” he continued.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has criticized Obama for avoiding the “Islamic terrorism” phrase.
“Is President Obama going to finally mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism?’ If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!” Trump tweeted after a terrorist went into an Orlando nightclub and murdered 49 people.
Hillary Clinton, for her part, doesn’t seem too bothered to use the phrase her former boss avoids.
“From my perspective, it matters what we do more than what we say,” she told CNN in June. “And it mattered we got bin Laden, not what name we called him. I have clearly said we — whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I’m happy to say either. I think they mean the same thing.”