‘You don’t send a picture of yourself laughing while people have just been blown up’: 9/11 Mayor Rudy Giuliani hits Obama for attending baseball game in Cuba after Brussels bombings
- Republicans are criticizing Obama for staying in Cuba in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Belgium and going about his day as planned
- All three GOP candidates slammed President Obama for staying put in Cuba – and watching baseball – in the wake of the Brussels attacks
- They say he should have returned to Washington instead of continuing on with his trip; he’s now in Argentina
- Obama spent the first minute of a speech yesterday morning condemning the attacks and asking the world to join together to fight against terrorism
- Wednesday afternoon it was announced John Kerry would go to Brussels Friday. He was also in Cuba at the baseball on Tuesday
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ripped into President Barack Obama for attending a baseball game in Cuba yesterday afternoon instead of jumping on his plane and coming home after the Brussels attacks.
‘You don’t send a picture of yourself laughing ,while people have just been blown up at a level that…is the equivalent of September 11 to one of our allies,’ said Giuliani, mayor of New York at the time of deadly 2001 terrorist attacks.
Republicans are angry with Obama for staying in Cuba in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Belgium and going about his day as planned.
That included a baseball game, which he was seen at with his family doing the wave and casually chatting with Cuban dictator Raul Castro, at Havana’s Latinoamericano stadium and an am speech cementing the United States and Cuba’s renewed relations.
Obama spent less than a minute addressing the bombings at the top of his remarks yesterday and spent much of a press conference today in Argentina responding to Republicans’ criticisms as a result.
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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ripped into President Barack Obama for attending a baseball game in Cuba yesterday afternoon instead of jumping on his plane and coming home after the Brussels attacks
‘You don’t send a picture of yourself laughing while people have just been blow up at a level that…is the equivalent of September 11 to our allies,’ said Giuliani, mayor of New York at the time of deadly 2001 terrorist attacks
Obama spent less than a minute addressing the bombings at the top of his remarks yesterday and spent much of a press conference today in Argentina responding to Republicans’ criticisms as a result
Obama said the U.S. must show ISIS that it does not have power over its citizens.
‘Groups like ISIL can’t destroy us. They can’t defeat us. They don’t produce anything. They’re not an existential threat to us,’ he said. ‘They are viscous killers and murders who have perverted one of the world’s great religions.’
The terrorist group’s primary source power in in addition to taking innocent lives, he said, ‘is to strike fear in our societies, to disrupt our societies. so that that the effect cascades.’
Obama said they world must not give them what they want. ‘Even as we are systematic and ruthless and focused in going after them, disrupting their networks, getting their leaders….it is very important for us to not respond with fear.’
‘That’s hard to do because we see the impact in such an intimate way of the attacks,’ he acknowledged. ‘But we defeat them in part by saying: you are not strong, you are weak.’
‘We send a message to those who might be inspired by them to say, you are not going to change our values.’
Gesturing in the direction of Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, who was standing to his left at a joint news conference this afternoon in Buenos Aires, Obama said, ‘It is important for the United States president and the United States government to be able to work with people who are building and who are creating things.’
‘We have to make sure that we lift up and stay focused, as well, on the things that are most important to us,’ he said. ‘Because we’re on the right side of history.’
Earlier in the day, on MSNBC, Giuliani had lambasted Obama for ‘analogizing’ himself yesterday to the Boston Red Sox’ David Ortiz.
Recalling what he called one of his proudest memories during his time as president, Obama told ESPN that Ortiz’s reaction to the Boston bombings in April 2013 was spot on.
Obama said he felt the player spoke for the nation when he said, ‘This is our f**king city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom.’
‘David Ortiz is a designated hitter,’ Giuliani said on Morning Joe. ‘He’s the President of the United States, and he’s comparing himself to a designated hitter, and the wonderful speech that he gave?’
The retired Republican politician who once ran for president himself said of Obama, ‘This man’s job is to be the leader of the free world, which means the leader of NATO.’
Obama brought up ‘Big Papi’ again today and said, ‘At that moment he spoke about what America is.’
‘That is how we are going to defeat these terrorist groups,’ Obama said.
Part of the strategy is tactical – airstrikes, intelligence and arrests.
‘But a lot of it is also going to be to say: You do not have power over us,’ Obama declared. ‘We are strong, our values are right. You offer nothing, except death.’
On MSNBC this morning Giuliani said Obama should have responded to the terrorist attack yesterday the way that France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls did.
‘We are at war,’ Valls told the Associated Press on Tuesday. ‘We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war.’
Giuliani claimed that Valls said it is an ‘Islamic, terrorist war against us.’
‘Quote, he’s willing to describe it this way,’ Giuliani said. ‘Words that will never come out of the president’s mouth.’
He added: ‘War against a NATO ally is war against us.’
Obama has said the United States is at war with ISIS and and its allies. But Republicans argue that’s not enough. They want him to declare war against ‘radical, Islamic’ terrorism.
Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough said today that the Obama administration’s approach to the situation seems to be that ‘ISIS is much ado about nothing.’
‘In the long run it’s an approach by this White House to say that Islamic, extremist terrorism, really is not at war against us,’ Giuliani said in response and referenced France again. ‘He acts like this is another criminal act that was committed in New York yesterday.’
Touting his own response to 9/11, the ex-mayor said, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, he rushed over from The Peninsula hotel in New York City to make sure he the right resources and plan in place.
‘And as it turned out, it was the wrong plan,’ he said, but he changed it the next day.
‘Obviously he’s got the wrong plan, and he’s got to change it. And you don’t change it from a communist country, communicating from a communist country.’
Giuliani brought up the pictures of Obama laughing at yesterday’s baseball game and said, ‘Imagine if there was a picture of the president of France laughing during September 11. How would we feel about that?’
Giuliani said he would have immediately returned to the United States immediately and called a meeting of his national security advisers and said, ‘When I wake up tomorrow morning, I want a complete plan to destroy ISIS – no BS.’
Asked if he believes that Obama doesn’t have one already, Giuliani laughed in disbelief and said, ‘If he does, it’s failing, he better get a new one.’
‘How many attacks have we had in the last year?’ he said. ‘If he has a plan for defeating ISIS, let’s go get another plan to defeat ISIS.’
Told that the U.S. has had more than 20,000 bombing raids on ISIS, Giuliani said, ‘Well maybe they’re not working.’
‘If he can’t figure out his strategy is not working, then we need someone else to that job,’ he added.
He dismissed during the lengthy discussion a suggestion that it wouldn’t have made a ‘difference’ if Obama had come back to Washington yesterday instead of continuing on to Argentina.
‘The difference it would have made is that it would have made people feel that he’s a leader, that he’s in charge,’ said Giuliani, who ran for president the same year as Obama, in 2008, but dropped his bid before the end of the GOP primary.
Retired four-star general and former Director of the National Security Agency Michael Hayden, also on this morning’s MSNBC panel, said Obama does have a plan – it’s just ‘under-resourced and over-regulated.’
The United States is dropping 20 bombs on ISIS a day. ‘That is not a relentless campaign,’ he said.
As for Obama’s Cuba play, ‘That wasn’t a mistake, that wasn’t weakness, that was policy.
‘His going to the ballgame and his spending less a minute on the attack – I actually believe in his heart of hearts, the president’s policy is, that is not that big a deal. There are other things that are more important, and that was what he was messaging,’ Hayden, who worked for Republican President George W. Bush, said.
Giuliani also hammered Obama this morning not just for his presence at the baseball game but for delivering his terror remarks from a communist Cuba.
‘How absurd is that?’ he said.
Republicans are criticizing Obama for staying in Cuba in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Belgium and going about his day as planned. That included a baseball game with his family and Cuban dictator Raul Castro
A moment of silence was held at the start of the game for the victims of the Belgian attack
President Obama stayed in Cuba yesterday to first address the island nation’s people, pictured, and talked less than a minute about Brussels. And then he went to the baseball game
All three GOP presidential candidates condemned the president’s handling of the attacks yesterday morning.
‘President Obama is spending his time going to baseball games with the Castros,’ said Sen.Ted Cruz, who is running for the Republican nomination for president.
Cruz, who is half-Cuban, had already come out against the Obama family’s historic trip to Cuba this week, but the fact that the president’s schedule stayed intact after the attacks was salt on the wound.
The Texas senator has had equally strong words for Obama’s strategy to eradicate ISIS. Cruz said its ‘disaster’ and Obama’s failure to call it ‘radical, Islamic terrorism’ has contributed to its rise.’
His approval for thousands of Syrian refugees to relocate in United States is ‘lunacy,’ Cruz said this morning on Fox and Friends, because ISIS can ‘infiltrate those refugees’ like they did in Paris last year.
‘It makes no sense, and we need a president, a commander-in-chief, whose first responsibility is to keep America safe. That’s what I’ll do as president,’ Cruz said.
Obama is due to return to Washington Friday morning and has made no indications that he’ll come back sooner in spite of Tuesday’s terror attack in Brussels.
Responding to the criticisms today, Obama said beating ISIS is his ‘top priority.’
‘There’s no more important item on my agenda than going after them and defeating them,’ he said. ‘The issue is how do we do it in an intelligent way.’
Obama said his administration is ‘continuously’ adjusting its playbook for going after ISIS. ‘What has been working’: airstrikes and special operations between the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces to go after ISIS’ bases and cut down the size of territory they control.
‘This is difficult work. It’s not because we don’t have the best and the brightest working on it, it’s not because we are not taking the threat seriously,’ he said, ‘it’s because it’s challenging, to find, identify very small groups of people who are willing to die themselves.’
The Commander-in-Chief said he’s directed his team to look at ‘every strategy possible to successfully reduce the risk of such terrorist attacks’ while the military goes after ISIS’ ‘beating heart in places like Iraq and Syria.’
‘But what we don’t do and we should not do is take approaches that are going to be counter productive,’ he said.
As he has said in the past in response to Cruz, who’s he would ‘carpet bomb’ ISIS, Obama said, ‘not only is that inhumane, not only is that contrary to our values, that would likely be an extraordinary mechanism for ISIL to recruit more people that are willing to die and explode bombs in an airport or in a metro station.’
‘That’s not a smart strategy,’ Obama said.
FANS: Awaiting Obama at the baseball game were 55,000 Cubans who had waited hours to see the American president in person
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz whacked President Obama for staying put in Cuba instead of coming home to deal with the terrorist situation in Brussels or heading to the country
Secretary of State John Kerry was also in Cuba during the attack, stayed, and was pictured at the game Tuesday – above. Wednesday afternoon the US announced he will fly to Brussels Friday to offer condolences
Yesterday Cruz said he’d direct law enforcement to increase its patrols of Muslim communities to keep attacks similar to Brussels from happening in America.
Obama said part of the reason there are attacks on the United States is that it has a ‘patriotic, integrated Muslim-American community.
‘They do not feel ghettoized. They do not feel isolated,’ he said. ‘Any approach that would single them out or target them for discrimination is not only wrong and un-American, but it would also be counter-productive because it would reduce…the antibodies that we have to reduce terrorism.’
A bemused Obama said of Cruz’s proposal to patrol Muslim neighborhoods more aggressively: ‘I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance, which byt the way the father of Senator Cruz escaped. For America. The land of the free.’
‘The notion that we would start down that slippery slope makes absolutely no sense. It’s contrary to who we are, and it’s not gonna help us defeat ISIL,’ Obama asserted.
Attacks like the one in Belgium make ‘our hearts bleed’ because they strike so close to home, he said. The president said it ‘horrifies’ him to see the bloodshed and think of his own daughters, Sasha and Malia, and the possibility that they could be murdered.
‘So I understand why this is the top priority of the American people, and I want them to understand, this is my top priority, as well,’ Obama said. ‘But we are approaching this in a way that has a chance of working. And it will work.’
His second term nearly up, Obama will leave office in 10 months in January of 2017. Three Republicans and two Democrats are still in the race to succeed him. Cruz is one of them.
Obama said today that he won’t change his approach to combating ISIS ‘simply because it’s political season.’
‘We’re gonna be steady. We’re going to be resolute. And ultimately, we’re gonna be successful,’ he said.
John Kasich followed suit and suggested that President Obama return home ‘immediately’ instead of staying in Cuba through the rest of the day
Donald Trump came out against President Obama after his two Republican rivals, suggesting that the speech to the Cuban people looked ‘ridiculous’ in light of today’s news
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another Republican running for president, had also chimed in yesterday and made demands similar to Cruz.
‘The president must return home immediately and get to work with our allies to respond with strength against the enemies of the west,’ Kasich said.
Kasich brought up the baseball game, as well, at a press conference.
‘I’m a little surprised that the president is going to a baseball game when I believe – if I would have been president I would have cut short my visit, I would have flown home, I would have conducted calls jointly with heads of state and gone to assemble teams of people, intelligence experts, who can take a look at the serious breaches that we have in intelligence,’ Kasich said.
‘I would also involve our friends in the Arab community who know that radical Islam is also intent on destroying and threatening them,’ he continued.
Not to be outdone, GOP front-runner Donald Trump soon joined the pile on.
‘President Obama looks and sounds so ridiculous making his speech in Cuba, especially in the shadows of Brussels. He is being treated badly!’ The Donald tweeted.
The president did not heed their advice. He dedicated a brief portion of a planned speech to the attacks and moved on.
He met Cuban dissidents at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, then made his way to watch the baseball in casual khaki pants, white shirt, no tie, and sunglasses.
After observing a moment of silence for the hundreds of victims, a relaxed Obama said, ‘This is just one more example of why the entire world needs to unite against these terrorists.’
‘The president must return home immediately and get to work with our allies to respond with strength against the enemies of the west,’ John Kasich said yesterday
‘The notion that any political agenda would justify the killing of innocent people like this is … is beyond the pale.’
Obama said, ‘We are gonna continue with the over 60 nations that are pounding ISIL, and we’re going to go after them. In the meantime, obviously our thoughts and prayers are with those who’ve been lost and hoping for a speedy recovery or those who’ve been injured.’
When asked by ESPN why he had not returned to Washington, the president said to do so would show the terrorists they have the power to disrupt.
‘It’s always a challenge when you have a terrorist attack anywhere in the world, particularly in this age of 24/7 news coverage,’ said the president. ‘You want to be respectful and understand the gravity of the situation, but the whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people’s ordinary lives.’
In the opening minutes of his speech to the Cuban people on Tuesday he spent a minute discussing the attacks that killed 34 and injured many more.
‘Before I begin, please indulge me, I want to comment on the terrorist attacks that took place in Brussels. The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium,’ Obama said. ‘We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people.’
He said, ‘We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice whoever is responsible and this is yet another reminder that the world must unite – we must be together – regardless of nationality, or race, or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.
‘We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world,’ Obama added.
At today’s press conference in Buenos Aires with Macri Obama spoke on both nations’ behalf and said the U.S. and Argentina sympathize with the Belgian people because they, too, have known the ‘scourge of terrorism.’
We ‘express our extraordinary sorrow for the losses that they’ve experienced,’ Obama said. ‘We’ve seen our own citizens impacted by this [kind] of senseless, viscous violence.’
Obama reiterated the United States’ willingness to help with the investigation of the bombings and said, ‘We will also continue to go after ISIL aggressively until it is removed from Syria and from Iraq, and it is finally destroyed.’
‘The world has to be united against terrorism,’ Obama said, ‘and we can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security not only of our own people, but of people all around the world.’