National Security

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin: I’d Say ‘Radical Islam’ in a Heartbeat

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) said Wednesday that President Barack Obama should have used the phrase "radical Islam" when describing the deadly Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, that occurred late Saturday night, adding that he would have done so himself "in a heartbeat."

"He should have said ‘radical Islam.’ I would say that … I would do it in a heartbeat," Manchin told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade."I don’t know a Muslim in West Virginia or a Muslim anywhere in the country that doesn’t believe that these people are radical if they’ve been radicalized to the point they want to kill innocent people or themselves."

President Obama railed against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday while delivering remarks about the Orlando massacre, dismissing calls for him to use the term "radical Islam" as a political talking point. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton echoed Obama’s comments in a separate speech the same day, saying such rhetoric will virtually "demonize and declare war on an entire religion."

Trump fiercely criticized both Obama and Clinton for not being tough enough in fighting jihadism or using the phrase radical Islamic terrorism, also reaffirming his call to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) rejected Trump’s proposal Tuesday as not in America’s interest but said the Obama administration is not doing a good enough job in fighting terrorism and needs to properly identify the enemy.

Manchin also said on Wednesday that "we‘ve had radical Christians, we’ve had people go into churches, Christians, and kill people," possibly referencing the Charleston church shooting from June 2015.

"The president did say ‘radical Christian’ when he was describing that shooting," Kilmeade interjected.

"Yeah, and he should have said ‘radical Islam’ [to describe the Orlando shooting]," Manchin responded. "I believe that they’re radical, very radical. Anyone that acts this way. And people want to do so much harm to innocent people and people of their own faith."

The senator argued that, while he would use the term ‘radical Islam,’ he is OK with the president not doing so, adding that using a particular name to describe the jihadist threat is not a strategy to defeat ISIS or being discussed as part of one.

Manchin also reacted to Obama’s tone from his speech Tuesday, saying he wished the president showed more emotion in response to the Orlando attack.

"The president is who he is [after] seven-and-a-half years," Manchin said. "He’s methodical, he’s very thoughtful when he speaks. He doesn’t get very emotional. He did get emotional yesterday, and people think he should have been more emotional about the [terrorist] act."

"Do you?" Kilmeade asked.

"Well, you’d like to see that. But I’ve accepted what we have," Manchin said.