Conservative media figures rushed to attack Obama on a number of fronts after the terror attacks in Brussels, criticizing the fact he was in Cuba, his statement on the attacks, and his leadership abilities.
Terror Attacks Target Brussels, Belgium
Multiple Attacks In Brussels Leave Dozens Dead, Over 100 Wounded. The capital of Belgium faced three separate explosions Tuesday morning, two in the city's airport and one at the Maelbeek metro station. The attacks came days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the man allegedly responsible for the Paris terror attacks last November:
ISIS claimed to strike yet again on European soil Tuesday, saying its “fighters” launched attacks on the airport and a subway station in Belgium's capital that killed at least 30 people and wounded about 230 more.
While jarring, the carnage wasn't altogether surprising. Belgium has been going after terrorist threats for months, as illustrated by last week's capture of Europe's most wanted man, Salah Abdeslam, in a bloody raid in Brussels.
A Belgian government representative told CNN that 20 people died at the Maelbeek metro station and 130 were wounded, plus 10 more were killed and 100 wounded at Brussels' international airport.
The “working assumption” is that the attackers came from the same network behind November's massacres in Paris, which left 130 dead, Belgian security sources said, while cautioning it is very early in the latest investigation.
At least one of the two airport explosions was a suicide bombing, Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said. A blast happened there outside the security checkpoints for ticketed passengers and near the airline check-in counters, an airline official briefed on the situation said.
The subway station blast happened in the Brussels district of Maelbeek, near the European Quarter, where much of the European Union is based. [CNN.com, 3/22/16]
Obama Responds To Brussels Attack During Speech In Cuba
Obama: “The World Must Unite” Against Terror. President Obama, at the beginning of his March 22 speech to the Cuban people, addressed the terror attacks in Brussels stating, “We stand in solidarity” with the people of Belgium “in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people,” adding “this is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together” :
The terrorist bombings in Belgium on Tuesday are “another reminder we must unite” in the fight against terrorism, President Obama said before a speech to the Cuban people here this morning.
“We will do whatever is necessary to support our friends in Belgium,” Obama said.
“We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people,” he said. “This is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together.”
Obama was briefed on the Brussels explosions Tuesday morning at at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, where he was staying on the third day of his Cuban visit, White House officials said. [USA Today, 3/22/16]
Right-Media Criticize Obama For Being In Cuba During Attacks, For His Remarks On Brussels, And For His Leadership
Fox's Karl Rove: Obama “Spends His Time Worrying About Cuba And American Tourism” Instead Of Terrorism. During the March 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox political contributor Karl Rove criticized the president for prioritizing “Cuba and American tourism” when he “ought to be worrying about Islamic terrorism” :
KARL ROVE: We have an administration that will not acknowledge that we are in a global war on Islamic -- against Islamic terror. That they have declared the war on us, that they declared it long before 9/11, that they came at us hard on 9/11 and we're in a war for, basically the future of western civilization and the president spends his time worrying about Cuba and American tourism and not as much time as he ought to be worrying about Islamic terrorism, and the words can't pass his lips.
BRIAN KILMEADE (HOST): Real quick Joe, do you think the president should come home? Or watch that baseball game? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/22/16]
Fox's Varney: Obama Is “Shaking Hands With A Communist Dictator” As “Europe Is Paralyzed By Terror.” During the March 22 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., host Stuart Varney claimed the “optics” of Obama's trip to Cuba “don't look good,” stating that Obama is “shaking hands with a communist dictator” while “the West comes under attack” :
STUART VARNEY (HOST): Bottom line is that Belgium, the country, has been shut down, essentially. That's what's happened. President Obama is in Cuba at this point. He's going to make a speech at around ten minutes past ten, Eastern time, we believe he may address this issue, this terror attack at the top of his speech. But the optics don't look good. Here is the president of the United States, in a foreign country, shaking hands with a communist dictator, as people die and Europe is paralyzed by terror ... As the West comes under attack.[Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/22/16]
Marc Thiessen: Obama “On A Tourist Tri[p]” While “Brussels Under Attack.” In a series of tweets on March 22, Fox News contributor Marc Thiessen slammed Obama for being “on a tourist tri[p] in Havana with his family” while Brussels was under attack and accused the president of “echoing Castro propaganda” :
Brussels under attack. Obama on a tourist trio in Havana with his family. Says it all.
-- Marc Thiessen (@marcthiessen) March 22, 2016
No need for a time machine. He should not be in Cuba, period. And certainly not there echoing Castro propaganda https://t.co/lw9xmUFQai
-- Marc Thiessen (@marcthiessen) March 22, 2016
Jim Hoft: Obama “Gives Speech To ... Commies” During Brussels Attacks. The Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft ridiculed Obama's Cuba speech in a March 22 tweet, writing after “Jihadists Blow Up Brussels” Obama “gives a speech to Cuba Commies” :
-- Jim Hoft (@gatewaypundit) March 22, 2016
Benny Johnson: The President Condemned Attacks For “Less Than 1 Min[ute],” Then Thanked “A Terrorist Regime.” The Independent Journal's Benny Johnson criticized Obama for spending less than a minute condemning the attacks in Brussels, and accused the president of “launching directly into thanking a terrorist regime” in Cuba:
Obama spent less than 1 min condemning terrorist attacks in Belgium, before launching directly into thanking a terrorist regime in Havana.
-- Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 22, 2016
Josh Kraushaar: Obama Spoke Only “A Few Sentences On Brussels,” Then Talked About “How Gracious” The Castro Government Has Been. In a March 22 tweet, the National Journal's Josh Kraushaar chastised Obama for saying “just a few sentences on Brussels” and then praising the Castro government:
Just a few sentences on Brussels from the president. He then talks about how gracious the Castro govt has been to him and his family.
-- Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) March 22, 2016
Todd Starnes: Obama "Refuses To Acknowledge That We Are At War With Radical Islam." Fox News radio host Todd Starnes slammed Obama for refusing to acknowledge that the U.S. is “at war with radical Islam” in his comments about Brussels:
Once again - Obama refuses to acknowledge that we are at war with radical Islam. #brussels
-- toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) March 22, 2016
Ben Shapiro: “Obama Posed In Front Of A Terrorist Mural,” So Vague Condemnation “Is All We Could Expect.” In a March 22 tweet, Dailywire.com editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro denounced Obama's response saying, “Obama posed in front of a terrorist mural yesterday, so I guess a couple lines vaguely condemning Islamic terrorism is all we could expect” :
Obama posed in front of a terrorist mural yesterday, so I guess a couple lines vaguely condemning Islamic terrorism is all we could expect.
-- Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 22, 2016
Monica Crowley: US “Desperately” Needs “Real Leadership” After Obama's “Passionless Statement.” Fox News analyst Monica Crowley lambasted Obama's statement on Brussels as “perfunctory” and “passionless,” adding the country “desperately need[s] real leadership” :
Obama gives his usual perfunctory, passionless statement on the latest Islamic terror attack. We desperately need real leadership. #help
-- Monica Crowley (@MonicaCrowley) March 22, 2016
Melissa Francis: “Where Is Our President?” In a March 22 tweet, Fox News' Melissa Francis accused Obama of being absent in the face of terrorism, questioning “where is our President” to “stand up to the threat?” :
Radical Islam in on FIRE in the mideast where is our President to organize the world & stand up to the threat? Gen Keene @AmericaNewsroom
-- Melissa Francis (@MelissaAFrancis) March 22, 2016
Right-Wing Radio Host Michael Berry: “I Do Not Believe [Obama] Has Feelings For Other People.” During the March 22 edition of iHeart Radio's The Michael Berry Show, host Michael Berry accused Obama of being “clearly bothered” that the terror attacks “interrupted” his “grand trip” to Cuba. Berry added that he gets the sense Obama is “a spoiled, rotten, only child” who demands attention and gets “mad” when he doesn't get it:
BERRY: President Obama is speaking in Havana right now clearly bothered that his grand trip, his crowning moment, is being interrupted by a terror attack in Belgium. I don't personally know Barack Obama and it's a dangerous thing to assume what is in a man's heart if you don't know him, but I have his deeds, I have almost eight years of his deeds in public life, actually I have over eight years if you count when he was running and I feel very comfortable saying, and I do not care what anyone thinks in response. You can have your own impression but you can't have mine. I do not believe that this man has feelings for other people. There's an interesting interview we'll play for you of Donald Trump, and I actually do compare the two of them for a number of reasons. The deep insecurities, the inability to empathize with other people. The language of empathy is not the emotion of empathy. And listen we've all known the lady that wants to mother everybody and feels bad for everyone, and pat them on the head and make it all go away. I'm not asking for that. But there is a sense of connection human beings have at the animal level, a sense of connection that smiles when they see a baby, that is concerned when they see the elderly shuffling along, that reacts when a man hits a woman, that when there's an accident wants to dive in and help and pull people out. That's a sense of humanness and I get out of Obama the idea that he is a spoiled, rotten, only child demanding that his parents or his mommy turn and pay attention to me, what I'm doing right here, right now, and it's his birthday party and the house next door has burned down and people have left the cake and gone outside to watch as the next door family is dragged out dead and he's mad. It's his birthday. [iHeart Radio, The Michael Berry Show, 3/22/16]