President Barack Obama's "weakness" in the fight against terrorism allows radical Islamic jihadists to "thrive and feel that they can continue to be the winner," Kansas GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo tells Newsmax TV.
In a wide-ranging interview Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show," Pompeo – a member both of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and of the House Select Committee on Benghazi – said as long as the Islamic State and al-Qaida militants are winning, "it won't matter exactly what U.S. policies are."
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For example, Pompeo notes Obama calls the closing of the terrorism detention facility at Guantanamo Bay part of his "counter terror strategy."
"He misunderstands that it's not that [radical Islamic terrorists] dislike the fact that we have folks detained at Guantanamo," Pompeo said.
"They don't like the fact we 're holding them. His weakness is what causes them to thrive and feel that they can continue to be the winner."
"As long as ISIS, al-Qaida and the other radical Islamic terrorists are winning, it won't matter exactly what U.S. policies are," he added. "That's not why they're fighting us. It's ideological. It's not about some counterterrorism policy. It's their fundamental desire to destroy the West."
Pompeo said what will quell Americans' fear of the terrorists is decisive action against them.
"What we need to do is be forceful, crush them wherever we find them and make it very clear that their radical Islamic terrorism is not going to defeat our way of life," he said. "To the extent we do that and we're vigorous and robust in defending that, we can crush them."
He also urged the United States to not just target ISIS in Syria – or Syrian leader Bashar Assad.
"We got to do it all," he said. "Assad is a tool of Iran and so to the extent we're not prepared to push back on Iran in the form of Assad we're making mistakes. We ought to do that but it's not just ISIS either, al-Nusra Front, al-Qaida. Either these are the same two sides of the terror coin and we got to go crush them all."
The lawmaker also pushed back on President Obama's criticism of some Republicans during a National Public Radio
interview Monday, when Obama was asked about his reaction to "ordinary people in America" who fear he's "trying to change the country into something that they cannot accept."
"If you are referring to specific strains in the Republican Party that suggest that somehow I'm different, I'm Muslim, I'm disloyal to the country, etc., which unfortunately is pretty far out there and gets some traction in certain pockets of the Republican Party, and that have been articulated by some of their elected officials," Obama replied. "What I'd say there is that that's probably pretty specific to me and who I am and my background, and that in some ways I may represent change that worries them."
Pompeo said Obama has "done this before."
"He's asserted that anybody who disagrees with his policies that have failed America is somehow a racist or a bigot – the kind of victimization that is too often attached to critics of the policies that have put us in a place today," Pompeo said.
"This has nothing to do with the skin color of the president but with the fact that he's just disconnected from what it takes to keep America safe. We have called him for that and have tried to change his policies."
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