Dem lawmaker: Islamic radicals at 'war' with US

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSix people whose election wins made history Next Congress expected to have record diversity Native Americans elected to Congress in record numbers this year MORE (D-Hawaii), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said Friday that Islamic extremists were at war with the United States, and urged the Obama administration to adopt the same view.

"I'm upset that the president and the White House...is not actually saying this is a war that the Islamic extremists are posing against the United States and against the West," she said during an appearance on CNN’s “The Situation Room” Friday.

In the same interview, Gabbard referred to the threat posed by “this radical Islamic extremist agenda."


The White House has tried to avoid using the phrase "radical Islam" when discussing the recent attack in Paris, in an attempt to disconnect the attackers from the broader religion. 

"These are individuals who are terrorists. And what they did was they tried to invoke their own distorted, deviant view of Islam to try to justify them," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday. 

But Gabbard, an Army National Guard captain, disagreed.

"We have to recognize that this is about radical Islam," she said.

She also said a recent raid to disrupt an imminent terrorist plot in Belgium showed that the U.S. and its allies need to do more to stem the flow of extremists from Syria and Iraq back to Europe. 

She said "there's no question" that law enforcement in Western countries should be on heightened alert. 

She also said the U.S. should immediately suspend a visa waiver program that allows for citizens of certain Western countries to travel to America without a visa. 

"People are able to...get on a plane and come to States...who are part of this radical Islamic extremist movement," she said. 

Gabbard, who served in Iraq, also said that she found the country's return to violence personally upsetting. 

"It sickens me...like so many people I served with...we lost friends there that paid the ultimate price," she said. "Our administration refuses to recognize who our enemy is."

This story was updated at 8:29 p.m.