President Barack Obama took to the airwaves Sunday night in a rare Oval Office address to the nation calling last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that left 14 dead an “act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people.”
The president offered no new details on the investigation into the San Bernardino attack, saying “so far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home.”
The speech — aimed at reassuring a nervous nation and only the third address from the Oval Office during his Presidency — was his most passionate denunciation of ISIS to date, vowing to “destroy” the group. However, it failed to announce an overhaul of a policy that many critics have deemed insufficient to take on the evolving threat.
Obama also urged Congress to adopt new restrictions on assault weapons and ban citizens on no-fly lists from being able to purchase firearms.
Alabama politicians were quick to weigh in:
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01):
Tomorrow is December 7th, a day that will live in infamy because our nation was attacked at Pearl Harbor by an enemy we failed to fully understand. I worry we are making the same mistake today when it comes to Islamic extremism. The President’s speech tonight offered nothing new in the way of a strategy to defeat this enemy. We need a clear strategy that will ensure our enemy is defeated in the Middle East, on social media, and here at home. More political speeches won’t solve the problem. We need action from our Commander-in-Chief.
The President outlined little in the way of a strategy or new approach to defeat this vile enemy known as Islamic extremism.
— Rep. Bradley Byrne (@RepByrne) December 7, 2015
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02):
Americans are rightfully concerned about the growing threat posed by radical Islamic terrorism, and I’m glad President Obama chose to address the nation.
I’m disappointed that, once again, the president did not lay out a clear strategy for actually defeating ISIS. Repeating old talking points and deflecting blame does not demonstrate the kind of leadership Americans want and need in a moment like this.
I agree that Congress should pass an Authorization of Military Force specific to ISIS, and I have co-sponsored a straightforward resolution that can move forward tomorrow. However, many in Congress are understandably reluctant to authorize military force when our Commander-in-Chief repeatedly fails to demonstrate a clear strategy for confronting and defeating the ISIS threat.
President Obama is wrong to use the terrorist threat to advance his anti-gun agenda. Trying to strip law-abiding Americans of their 2nd Amendment right to own firearms is no way to combat terrorism. I will fight any attempt by President Obama to erode our 2nd Amendment rights.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03):
President Obama’s address Sunday night was nothing more than him taking advantage of an opportunity to mask his failed strategy against ISIS. He used the San Bernardino terrorist attack as a plea for tighter gun control measures rather than announcing a real strategy to destroy ISIS. I will fight against any effort by the Obama Administration to restrict our Second Amendment rights. President Obama must realize the true threat of violent Islamic extremism and create a strategy to destroy it at its source. The American people deserve nothing less.
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04):