Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzWhy is Donald Trump rocking his uneasy base? Michele Bachmann: God picked Trump to be the GOP nominee Trump at immigration crossroads MORE (R-Texas) on Saturday said last weekend’s terrorist attack in his home state had made Americans more aware of the danger posed by extremist Muslims.
“We saw the ugly face of radical Islam in Garland, Texas, recently,” Cruz said of last Sunday’s shooting at a “Draw Muhammad” event there.
“Thankfully, one police officer helped those terrorists meet their virgins,” he quipped.
Phoenix residents and roommates Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi were the two gunmen shot during the attempted massacre.
Cruz, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, argued Saturday that the pair and others like them were emboldened by President Obama’s softness on Islamic fanaticism.
“We can’t win a war against radical Islamic terrorism with a president who won’t utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ ” he said.
“This nation is in crisis,” Cruz said. “If we don’t pull our country back from the brink, we risk losing the greatest country in the history of the world.”
Cruz vowed that if he were elected, he would unabashedly protect freedom of speech and other liberties.
“We must defend our constitutional rights – all of them,” he said.
New Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday said “all efforts were made” to warn the Texas police department over a likely attack at Garland’s “Draw Muhammad” event.
Simpson and Soofi were reportedly offended by the event’s content. Depicting Muhammad, Islam’s holiest prophet, is forbidden to Muslims.
The Obama administration on Tuesday ruled that the shooting was an “attempted terrorist attack.”
“There is no expression, however offensive, that justifies an act of terrorism even an act of violence,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has since claimed it inspired the Garland shooters.
White House officials have rejected that claim as a propaganda maneuver by the foreign terrorist organization.
Simpson and Soofi were more likely “lone wolf” extremists, they argued, rather than actual ISIS agents.
Conservative critics have argued the incident shows ISIS has finally infiltrated American shores because of the Obama’s administration’s poor counterterrorism strategies.