Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ripped into President Barack Obama for attending a baseball game in Cuba yesterday afternoon instead of jumping on his plane and coming home after the Brussels attacks.
‘You don’t send a picture of yourself laughing ,while people have just been blown up at a level that…is the equivalent of September 11 to one of our allies,’ said Giuliani, mayor of New York at the time of deadly 2001 terrorist attacks.
Republicans are angry with Obama for staying in Cuba in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Belgium and going about his day as planned.
That included a baseball game, which he was seen at with his family doing the wave and casually chatting with Cuban dictator Raul Castro, at Havana’s Latinoamericano stadium and an am speech cementing the United States and Cuba’s renewed relations.
Obama spent less than a minute addressing the bombings at the top of his remarks yesterday and spent much of a press conference today in Argentina responding to Republicans’ criticisms as a result.
Obama said the U.S. must show ISIS that it does not have power over its citizens.
‘Groups like ISIL can’t destroy us. They can’t defeat us. They don’t produce anything. They’re not an existential threat to us,’ he said. ‘They are viscous killers and murders who have perverted one of the world’s great religions.’
The terrorist group’s primary source power in in addition to taking innocent lives, he said, ‘is to strike fear in our societies, to disrupt our societies. so that that the effect cascades.’
Obama said they world must not give them what they want. ‘Even as we are systematic and ruthless and focused in going after them, disrupting their networks, getting their leaders….it is very important for us to not respond with fear.’
‘That’s hard to do because we see the impact in such an intimate way of the attacks,’ he acknowledged. ‘But we defeat them in part by saying: you are not strong, you are weak.’
‘We send a message to those who might be inspired by them to say, you are not going to change our values.’
Gesturing in the direction of Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, who was standing to his left at a joint news conference this afternoon in Buenos Aires, Obama said, ‘It is important for the United States president and the United States government to be able to work with people who are building and who are creating things.’
‘We have to make sure that we lift up and stay focused, as well, on the things that are most important to us,’ he said. ‘Because we’re on the right side of history.’
Earlier in the day, on MSNBC, Giuliani had lambasted Obama for ‘analogizing’ himself yesterday to the Boston Red Sox’ David Ortiz.
Recalling what he called one of his proudest memories during his time as president, Obama told ESPN that Ortiz’s reaction to the Boston bombings in April 2013 was spot on.
Obama said he felt the player spoke for the nation when he said, ‘This is our f**king city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom.’
‘David Ortiz is a designated hitter,’ Giuliani said on Morning Joe. ‘He’s the President of the United States, and he’s comparing himself to a designated hitter, and the wonderful speech that he gave?’
The retired Republican politician who once ran for president himself said of Obama, ‘This man’s job is to be the leader of the free world, which means the leader of NATO.’
Obama brought up ‘Big Papi’ again today and said, ‘At that moment he spoke about what America is.’
‘That is how we are going to defeat these terrorist groups,’ Obama said.
Part of the strategy is tactical – airstrikes, intelligence and arrests.
‘But a lot of it is also going to be to say: You do not have power over us,’ Obama declared. ‘We are strong, our values are right. You offer nothing, except death.’
On MSNBC this morning Giuliani said Obama should have responded to the terrorist attack yesterday the way that France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls did.
‘We are at war,’ Valls told the Associated Press on Tuesday. ‘We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war.’
Giuliani claimed that Valls said it is an ‘Islamic, terrorist war against us.’
‘Quote, he’s willing to describe it this way,’ Giuliani said. ‘Words that will never come out of the president’s mouth.’
He added: ‘War against a NATO ally is war against us.’
Obama has said the United States is at war with ISIS and and its allies. But Republicans argue that’s not enough. They want him to declare war against ‘radical, Islamic’ terrorism.
Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough said today that the Obama administration’s approach to the situation seems to be that ‘ISIS is much ado about nothing.’
‘In the long run it’s an approach by this White House to say that Islamic, extremist terrorism, really is not at war against us,’ Giuliani said in response and referenced France again. ‘He acts like this is another criminal act that was committed in New York yesterday.’
Touting his own response to 9/11, the ex-mayor said, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, he rushed over from The Peninsula hotel in New York City to make sure he the right resources and plan in place.
‘And as it turned out, it was the wrong plan,’ he said, but he changed it the next day.
‘Obviously he’s got the wrong plan, and he’s got to change it. And you don’t change it from a communist country, communicating from a communist country.’
Giuliani brought up the pictures of Obama laughing at yesterday’s baseball game and said, ‘Imagine if there was a picture of the president of France laughing during September 11. How would we feel about that?’