Obama answered this question from a Gold Star mother at a recent town hall hosted by CNN.
It’s the question everyone has been asking for a while now: just why doesn’t President Obama just say the words “radical Islamic terrorist?” As it turns out, there’s a reason. And it’s not because Obama is a secret Muslim.
In a town hall hosted by CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday night, Obama answered a question from a Gold Star mother about why he refuses to use the term to describe the Islamic State. Obama responded by calling it a “manufactured” issue.
Obama said the problem with using that term is that it lumps in “murderers” with hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims around the world. He argued that there is no religious rationale for killing people like ISIS does, and therefore there is no reason to pretend that they represent Islam in any way, shape or form.
Obama appeared to also indirectly hit Donald Trump in his remarks, noting that “people aspiring to become president” want to force Muslims to go through religious tests and to discriminate based on the action of people they have no ties to. Obama denied it was about Trump though, saying that a number of public figures have been using this rhetoric.
“The way we’re going to win this battle is not by betraying our ideals,” he said. “Call these folks what they are, which is killers and terrorists.”
Obama also talked about dealing with ISIS, and praised the military for how it had performed so far: “the work that this military has done, and the work that our law enforcement has done, has made us significantly safer today than we were when 9/11 happened.”