President Barack Obama tore into Donald Trump on Tuesday over the billionaire Republican's response to the Orlando massacre and his insistence on using the term "radical Islam."
Where does this stop? Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently? Place them under special surveillance? Discriminate against them because of their faith? Do Republican officials actually agree with this? Because that's not the America we want. It doesn't reflect our ideals.
Trump has said Obama should resign because he can't bring himself to say the term, which, besides demonizing an entire religion, plays into the hands of terrorists, as Muslim advocates have pointed out since the mass shooting in Orlando.
"There's no magic to the phrase radical Islam. It's a political talking point," Obama said in a speech at the Treasury Department. "The reason I am careful has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with defeating extremism."
It has been a longtime Obama administration policy to avoid the phrase. As the current CIA director, John Brennan, put it in 2010: "Nor do we describe our enemy as 'jihadists' or 'Islamists' because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women, and children."
Obama said as much in his speech Tuesday:
Groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda want to make this a war between Islam and America, or Islam and the West. They want to claim that they are the true leaders of more than a billion Muslims around the world who reject their crazy notions. They want us to validate them. If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush and imply that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists' work for them.
On Monday, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said she was happy to call it "radical Islamism" and also said that she won't "demonize, demagogue, and declare war on an entire religion."