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Cruz: Obama ‘encourages radical Islamic terrorists’

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) ramped up his criticism of President Obama in a speech for the Heritage Foundation, saying the White House “encourages radical Islamic terrorists.”

Cruz said Monday afternoon that it was “sad” Obama and senior administration officials were absent from a Paris unity rally in which 40 world leaders marched on Sunday in a show of defiance to terrorism.

{mosads}”In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, nations of the world stood with America. The nation of France stood with America,” Cruz said.

“It was sad and unfortunate that we have not seen that same leadership with this administration now. And I would note that that lack of seriousness and purpose, that lack of resolve, is profoundly dangerous,” he continued.

“It’s dangerous because it encourages radical Islamic terrorists to redouble their efforts and it’s dangerous because nations like Iran see that weakness,” Cruz said, calling a nuclear Iran the “single greatest threat” to international security.

On Sunday, more than a million people marched in Paris against terrorism, including multiple heads of state and world leaders. The rally capped off a difficult week for France after a gunman attacked and killed a dozen people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper previously targeted for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Later, a hostage situation left four people dead.

Cruz’s comments came after press secretary Josh Earnest tacitly admitted the White House erred in not sending someone to the rally with a “higher profile” than the U.S. ambassador to France.

“Had the circumstances been a little bit different, I think the president himself would have liked to be there,” Earnest said.

Earlier in the day, Cruz was among several potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates who faulted Obama’s absence at the rally, calling it “symbolic of the lack of American leadership on the world stage.”

Cruz’s keynote address at the second annual conservative policy summit hosted by Heritage Action closely followed his October op-ed published in USA Today outlining agenda for the new GOP-led Congress, including abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, repealing ObamaCare and emphasizing school choice.

But Cruz’s toughest words came when discussing recent terrorist violence.

“They do not discriminate between Americans, Israelis, Parisians. They target the West. And yet you cannot win a war against radial Islamic terrorism with an administration that is unable to utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism,'” Cruz said.

“These were not a bunch of ticked-off Presbyterians,” he added to laughter.

Tags Ted Cruz

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