Obama to visit San Bernardino on Friday

Greg Nash

President Obama will travel to San Bernardino, Calif., on Friday to meet with families of the victims of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, the White House said.

{mosads}Obama is stopping in the Southern California city, where 14 people were killed, on the way to his annual Christmas vacation in Hawaii.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday the president will “visit privately” with the families. Media access is not expected to be granted, Earnest said, and there are no plans for Obama to deliver a speech.

The president has spent this week trying to show the public he has a handle on the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at home and abroad.

Public fears about the threat of terrorism around the holidays have spiked following the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

Friday’s visit is a chance for Obama to convey sympathy to the families of the victims of the shooting at the Inland Regional Center.

The president has faced criticism that he has struck the wrong tone in response to the attacks; focusing too heavily on the issue of gun control and not speaking out forcefully enough against radical Islamic extremism.

GOP presidential candidates slammed Obama’s response to ISIS during Tuesday night’s debate. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called the president a “feckless weakling” in confronting the terror network.

Obama visited the Pentagon on Monday, where he convened a high-profile meeting of his National Security Council to review his administration’s anti-ISIS strategy and further explain it to Americans.

“We’re hitting ISIS harder than ever,” he told reporters at the Pentagon.

On Thursday, Obama will receive a pre-holiday threat assessment report at the National Counterterrorism Center in Northern Virginia.

The president and top administration officials said just days before the San Bernardino shooting that there was no specific, credible threat to the United States.

But the apparent lack of warning for the attack sparked concerns about the government’s ability to foil lone-wolf-style attacks, especially during the busy holiday season.

Obama was forced to interrupt his Hawaii vacation in 2009 when a man tied to al Qaeda attempted to detonate an underwear bomb aboard a commercial airliner in Detroit.

World events have also cast a shadow over the president’s summer vacations in Martha’s Vineyard. Obama was pilloried for playing golf immediately after addressing the Aug. 2014 beheading of American journalist James Foley at the hands of ISIS.

Tags San Bernardino shootings
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