GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — President Barack Obama went primetime with the conversation about terrorism Sunday night. The reaction to his address to the nation has been swift and predictable along a partisan line.
That Obama addressed the American people in primetime and from the Oval Office — a location he had spoken from only twice previously in his presidency — seemed to suggest the administration wants to place a lot of importance on an issue that has been difficult to define in political terms.
Obama was unambiguous when referring to last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. that left 14 victims dead. The shooters — a husband and wife who the FBI on Monday said had been radicalized “for some time” — were killed later in a shootout with police.
“This was an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people,” Obama said of the attack.
As the president said what many had been thinking, some wondered if he had changed his approach to the issue. U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, a Republican from Zeeland, told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday that he hopes that’s the case.
“I hope so because we have not seen him- or I least I believe that we have not seen him take a bold enough stand on this and recognize that this is domestic terrorism,” Huizenga said.
Obama also seemed to issue a call to action. While pointing out that Muslims should be enlisted as allies in the fight against terror rather than pushed away, he also added, “That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. There’s a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse.”
“That does sound like new language,” Huizenga said. “He has definitely been on a different track I think with that message and acknowledging that there is a significant problem within the Muslim community internationally but even here domestically is new and something he should pursue.”
During his address, Obama also called for Congress to give him authorization for military action against terrorist forces — a power that some believe he has dating back to a 2001 resolution.
Huizenga said that was worth talking about, but that the president needs a new plan.
“Really looks more like a blame shift,” Huizenga said. “Like the president wants to just kind of move these decisions over to Congress. That’s not how it works. The president needs to propose a serious plan with actual goals, which I don’t think we’ve really seen out of him yet, and then we need to be authorizing. I think it’s a discussion we should have.”
The White House posted video of the president’s address on Facebook Sunday night.