GOP’s 2016 field pans Obama’s ISIS speech
© Getty Images

Republican White House hopefuls are assailing President Obama’s Oval Office speech on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“I think not only did the president not make things better tonight, I fear he may have made things worse in the minds of many Americans,” Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioApple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech Surging Sanders draws fresh scrutiny ahead of debate MORE (R-Fla.) said of the president’s address late Sunday.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Nothing that happened tonight is going to assuage people’s fears,” Rubio told host Bret Baier on Fox News. "ISIS is a growing, significant and very serious threat. They’re not contained.”

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Cruz: Hearing from witnesses could extend Senate trial to up to 8 weeks Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial MORE (R-Texas) said he would take a different tack for defeating ISIS should he win the White House.

“On December 7, 1941, in response to Pearl Harbor, FDR did not give a partisan speech — rather, he called on Americans to unite and ‘win through to absolute victory,’” Cruz said in a statement Sunday night, referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“If I am elected president, I will direct the Department of Defense to destroy ISIS,” he continued. "And I will shut down the broken immigration system that is letting jihadists into our country.

“Nothing President Obama said tonight will assist in either case,” the Texas lawmaker added.

Former Govs. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) and Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) lodged criticisms of their own.

“I think he blew a great opportunity,” Huckabee said of the president’s speech on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“The opportunity was to give Americans reassurance that this was a president who totally focused on protecting us,” he said. "I didn’t hear that last night. I did not hear that his main focus was we’re going to do whatever it takes.”

“He didn’t lay out anything new,” Bush said on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends." "We’re at war with radical Islamic terrorism and the president continues to deny that.

“We need to be serious about that," Bush added. "Instead of saying what we shouldn’t do, the president should encourage the American people to get behind a strategy that will work.”

Obama delivered a rare Oval Office address late Sunday aimed at calming national anxieties toward radical Islamic terrorism.

“The terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase,” he said. "The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it.

“We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us,” Obama added, using an alternate acronym for ISIS.

Terrorism fears have been heightened by last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., which resulted in the deaths of 14 people and the wounding of 21 others.

The FBI is now investigating the incident for potential links with radical Islam following new information about the suspects’ motives.