Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming said President Obama's speech to the National Prayer Breakfast last week in which he drew a historical comparison between atrocities committed by Islamic State fighters and past "terrible deeds in the name of Christ" were "unpresidential" and actually defended ISIS.
"I was very disappointed, although not surprised. The president has said many things that just seem so unpresidential, and this was no exception," said Fleming on Family Research Council's Washington Watch radio program last week.
President Obama made references to the Crusades and the Inquisition at the National Prayer Breakfast last week when speaking about religious violence around the world.
"Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ," President Obama said last week. "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."
Fleming continued, saying the president defended ISIS with his speech.
"Not only did he vilify Christianity, but he actually made a case to defend radical Islam, that's killing people around the world. He actually defended what they were doing, and tried to draw some sort of twisted equivalency, moral equivalency, between what they're doing today and what Crusaders did 800 years ago. It really, it was really weird, in fact, and although we had, gosh, hundreds, maybe a thousand people there, he got very little applause. It was really quite sullen, and he really had no energy in his speech. If you've ever been in his presence, you know he's a very articulate speaker and can give rousing speeches, but it really hit the floor, hard. He was flat throughout that discussion."
The congressman also said the president was really saying ISIS fighters were just like those who fought in the American revolution
"Yeah, I mean he's really creating a propaganda bonanza for terrorists, because what he's really saying is 'Well look, these are freedom fighters, just like the patriots of the Revolutionary War. And they're no different, their service is just as honorable,'" said Fleming.
"And nothing could be further from the truth. And of course we know that everything from slavery to the Inquisitions and the Crusades happened before our lifetimes, and so what we're dealing with today is an existential threat to our society, to our individuals. At any time, somebody can blow themselves up, and take Americans with them. They can blow up an airplane, they can crash an airplane. That's something we have to worry about every day — we spend 40 billion dollars yearly on homeland security. That has nothing to do with Crusades, or any of that other nonsense."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.