President Barack Obama defended his response to global terrorism Sunday, saying that Americans should attend baseball games and go about their regular lives to avoid giving in to fear.
"The job of the terrorists, in their minds, is to induce panic … get societies to change who they are," Obama told Chris Wallace during an interview on Fox News Sunday.
"What I’ve tried to communicate is, ‘You can’t change us. You can kill some of us, but we will hunt you down and we will get you,’" the president said. "In the meantime, just as we did in Boston after the Marathon bombing, we’re going to go to a ballgame, and do all the other things that make life worthwhile … That’s the message of resilience."
In the interview, Wallace pointed to specific instances when the president was criticized for his reaction to terrorism. He recalled when Obama called the Paris attacks, which killed 131 people, a "setback" and said "we can't lose sight that there has been progress being made" against ISIS. Wallace also played a clip of Obama focusing on gun control after the ISIS-inspired San Bernardino attack, one month after the Paris attack.
Obama has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for what Democrats and Republicans call a weak and apathetic response to Islamic State (ISIS)-led terror attacks in Paris and Brussels.
Counterterrorism experts have also criticized Obama for choosing to attend a baseball game during his visit to Cuba last month immediately after the ISIS attack in Brussels, and for only dedicating 51 seconds of his prepared remarks during a speech earlier that day to the attack.
Discussion of Obama’s attitude toward terrorism received greater attention after the publication of Jefrey Goldberg’s article in the Atlantic, in which the president is quoted as telling his staff that bathtub and car accidents claim more lives than terrorist attacks.