Tags: salena zito | terrorism | bomb | rahami | obama | de blasio

Salena Zito: Obama Angrier at Press Than Terrorism

Image: Salena Zito: Obama Angrier at Press Than Terrorism

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a press conference about the recent bombings in the New York region at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel on September 19, 2016 in New York City. (Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 20 Sep 2016 04:16 PM

A bomb explodes in the New York neighborhood of Chelsea on Saturday evening, a second one is discovered by police blocks away.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's initial reaction is that it was an "intentional act;" it becomes his persistent answer for most of the next 30-plus hours, always followed by "there is no evidence at this point that there is a terror connection."

The reaction was unrealistic and came across as both deliberately political and obtuse — especially since it was already known to the mass public that two live bombs were rigged to explode and destroy life in a catastrophic manner in an American city known to be a center of power and population.

Federal law defines domestic terrorism as activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States. They would appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping, and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

At the time of the bombings, President Barack Obama was in New York — Manhattan specifically, for a political fundraiser for Hillary Clinton.

Despite being there on the ground he relayed his remarks through Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but offered no statement.

By Monday, Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was hunted down and found in Linden, New Jersey; charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer after a shootout Monday with police, he was also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

Rahami was also believed to be connected to pipe bombs found Sunday night in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and sources said he is "directly linked" to bombings Saturday in New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey.

By late Monday morning Obama had still not spoken, but his press secretary Josh Earnest contributed to the growing anxiety and pressure felt by the press and the public, by saying that America is in a "narrative battle" with the Islamic State.

As though we were having dueling press conferences with brutal murderers; with the United States as the guys who bring reason to the microphone and they bring mass destruction.

By the time Obama addressed the country — two days after the weekend explosions in New York and New Jersey and the mass stabbings at a mall in Minnesota — he thanked law enforcement, and then immediately went for the jugular with the press.

"I would ask that the press try to refrain from getting out ahead of the investigation," Obama said, adding, "It does not help if false reports or incomplete information is out there."

No one is certain what false reports he was talking about but he did refuse to call the attacks in New York City and New Jersey terrorism, and instead he called them "the explosions."

Words matter in these situations, especially from leadership positions. In de Blasio’s case it is an understandable tact to refrain from inciting anxiety among your citizenry, but there is also a responsibility to make them understand there is a serious situation going on and it must be addressed as though they are not children unable to comprehend the facts right in front of their eyes.

His efforts came across as both politically driven and oblivious to what everyone understood to be an act of terror. In short, bombs planted strategically around the city to cause fear, harm, death, and chaos is — by definition in Webster’s Dictionary and Federal Law — terrorism.

President Obama committed a very different offense to the intellect of the American people. He went about the business of raising cash for Hillary Clinton, the very woman he has passionately argued will continue his legacy, yet he dispassionately sent out his initial concerns through New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

By the way, Cuomo was the only leader to call the events terror attacks.

When Obama did finally make an appearance all passion was gone — he gave a mechanical nod to the men and women in uniform who risked their lives to hunt down any additional unexploded bombs along with the terror suspect. His temperature only became heated when he was attacking the press for a reason I am still not certain anyone understands.

He never once said "act of terror" or "terrorism," except to allude to the knife attacks in Minnesota on Saturday.

Essentially Obama’s message to the American people was that your fears are irrational and do not succumb to them, instead of stressing what he and his team are doing to prevent another terror attack

If Donald Trump wins this election part of the calculus of why he won will be the Democrats' stubborn opposition to calling terrorism "terrorism."

Words matter, even the ones you do not use. Americans would have felt no less safe had de Blasio or Obama addressed the elephant in the room. In fact, they likely felt less safe when they watched men in leadership positions dance around the obvious, rudderless in their inability to navigate away from the political correctness of their political belief system.

This election has never been ideologically driven, instead it has been fueled by the search for which candidate has their back — neither Clinton or Trump are particularly likeable — but who is able to drive that emotion forward in the waning weeks of this election will likely be inaugurated in January.


Salena Zito covers national politics for Newsmax.

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By the time Obama addressed the country — two days after the weekend explosions in New York and New Jersey and the mass stabbings at a mall in Minnesota — he thanked law enforcement, and then immediately went for the jugular with the press.
salena zito, terrorism, bomb, rahami, obama, de blasio
Tuesday, 20 Sep 2016 04:16 PM
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