A senior White House official said President Trump avoided the term “radical Islamic terrorism” during a speech to leaders of more than 50 Muslim-majority nations Sunday in Saudi Arabia because he was “exhausted,” reports The Hill.
“He’s just an exhausted guy,” the official told reporters after many pointed out that Trump avoided the expression “radical Islamic terrorism,” which became the centerpiece of his presidential campaign.
Trump repeatedly criticized former President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail for not using the phrase when talking about the fight against terrorist threats claiming the term was a pivotal phrase in addressing modern threats.
“I am going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country,” Trump said at a rally in October. He attacked Clinton, saying she “won’t even use the term,” according to The Hill.
Trump deviated from his prepared remarks in using “Islamic” rather than “Islamist.”
After remaining largely on script, that diversion caught the attention of many listeners who were curious to see whether Trump would use his key phrase.
Instead, Trump used words terms like, “Islamic extremism, and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.”
He avoided his key phrase while he called on the Muslim community to fight against militant threats.
“That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism, and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians,” Trump said.
Ahead of Trump’s speech Sunday, National security adviser H.R. McMaster suggested that the president would not use the term.
President Obama addressed the use of the term “radical Islam” in a speech delivered at the U.S. Treasury Department in June.
President Obama said the anti-Muslim sentiment is “doing the work for them,” referring to terrorists.
“Let me make a final point, for a while now the main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize the administration and me for not using the phrase ‘radical Islam,’ the President said. That’s the key they tell us. We cannot beat ISIL unless we call them ‘radical Islam.’ What exactly using this label would accomplish and what will it change? Will it make ISIL less committed to try to kill Americans? Would it bring more allies for military strategy than it is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away.”
“This is a political distraction,” Obama declared passionately.
“I have called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world’s great religions,” Obama said.
“There is not a moment where we have not able to pursue a strategy because we didn’t use the label ‘radical Islam,'” President Obama said.
“Not once has an advisor, man, if we use that phrase, we are going to turn this whole thing around, not once. So someone seriously thinks that we don’t know who we are fighting? If there is anyone out there who thinks we are confused about who our enemies are — that would come to a surprise of the thousands of terrorists we have taken on our battlefield,” Obama said.
Watch Obama’s speech, below: