President Obama on Tuesday lashed out against anti-Islam rhetoric used in the wake of the Orlando massacre, saying it only does the terrorists' jobs for them.
Using the term "radical Islam" also does not change any strategy because U.S. officials "know who the enemy is," he added.
"So do the intelligence and law enforcement officers who've spent countless hours disrupting plots and protect all Americans, including politicians who tweet and appear on cable news shows," Obama said in a thinly veiled reference to Donald Trump.
He also called the anti-Islam rhetoric a "political distraction."
"What exactly will using this label accomplish?" Obama said. "What will it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to trying to kill Americans? Would it bring us more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above."
He went on to say that there has never been a moment in his time as president that he has not been able to pursue a strategy because he did not use the label "radical Islam."
"Not once has an adviser of mine said, 'Man, if we really used that phrase, would we turn this around,'" Obama said. "Not once."
President Obama blasted Trump's proposal of barring all Muslims from coming to the United States.
"Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently?" Obama said. "Do Republican officials actually agree with this?"
Obama concluded that history has shown "when we acted out of fear ... we came to regret it."
"We've seen our government mistreat our fellow citizens and it has been a shameful part of our history," he said.
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at email@example.com.
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