WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. David Scott had some notably harsh words for President Barack Obama over his handling of Islamic terrorism in recent months.
The Atlanta Democrat said Obama needs to “stop pussyfooting around, get a sense of urgency and declare war” on radical Islamic terror.
“They take this president’s kindness for weakness. That’s why we’re in this shape,” Scott said Tuesday about the Islamic State and its allies two days after a self-radicalized American gunman slaughtered 50 people at an Orlando nightclub.
“What the hell does it make sense for us to have the most powerful military in the world and we don’t use it to protect the American people?” he added.
One of Congress’ few remaining moderate Blue Dog Democrats, Scott often tacks to the right of his party on fiscal and national security-related issues, a position that’s occasionally earned him criticism from the left.
Scott had some of the left’s harshest critiques of Obama’s counterterrorism work following a classified briefing on the Orlando attack from FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and National Counterterrorism Center Director Nick Rasmussen on Capitol Hill.
Scott said he would like to see Obama send a new request for the authorization for use of military force to Congress (a request dating back to February 2015 has withered on Capitol Hill). He said lawmakers then need to declare war and send ground and air troops to the Middle East and combine that effort with work in NATO.
The seven-term congressman said that the U.S. military presence abroad should be paired with a domestic effort to stamp out home-grown radicalization, including working with mosque leaders to identify potential threats.
“This ain’t a war against Muslims, but the Muslim community has got to step up,” he said. “Too many of these connections are connected to mosques.”
Sounding like many Republicans on the campaign trail as of late, Scott said there is too much political correctness in American politics “that is killing the American people.”
“We’re going to have to wake up,” he said.