Columnists Ron Fournier and Charles Krauthammer blasted Secretary of State John Kerry for remarks he made Tuesday in Paris that sympathized with the motivation of the terrorists involved in the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year.
"If a gaffe is when a politician speaks the truth, what's really on his mind. When Kerry said legitimacy, it told us a lot about him and the president," Krauthammer said. "A president who said at the U.N. the future does not belong to those who insult the prophet, they think deep down, that the murder of cartoonist has kind of legitimacy because it transgressed religious sensibility. That's appalling coming out of the secretary of state and by consensus, this administration."
Kerry used the word legitimacy to describe the rationale behind the Charlie Hebdo attacks, insinuating the terrorists were provoked.
"There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of–not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that," Kerry said in Paris Tuesday.
"This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That’s not an exaggeration. It was to assault all sense of nationhood and nation-state and rule of law and decency, dignity, and just put fear into the community and say, ‘Here we are.’ And for what? What’s the platform? What’s the grievance? That we’re not who they are?"
"They kill people because of who they are and they kill people because of what they believe. And it’s indiscriminate. They kill Shia. They kill Yezidis. They kill Christians. They kill Druze. They kill Ismaili. They kill anybody who isn’t them and doesn’t pledge to be that," Kerry continued.
Fournier was no easier on Kerry for the remark.
"The word legitimacy came out of the secretary of state's mouth talking about terrorism, and obviously that's he was thinking as well. That's inexplicably irresponsible."
On January 7, terrorists shot and killed 12 people at Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris. The magazine was controversial in Muslim communities because of cartoons of Muslim Prophet Muhammad.