As news bulletins from Paris reported a steadily mounting death toll on Friday night and into Saturday, the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates quickly offered their condolences for victims of the attack that claimed more than 120 lives and wounded upwards of 350 other people. After French authorities pinned the blame on ISIS, the tone of condolence shifted to one of criticism towards the Obama administration’s strategy in Syria and Iraq.
Most of the GOP presidential candidates, all of whom have repeatedly excoriated President Obama’s military strategy in debates and on the campaign trail, redoubled their criticisms in the attack’s aftermath.
President Obama said "ISIL continues to shrink" in an interview just hours before the horrible attack in Paris. He is just so bad! CHANGE.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2015
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, released a short video in which he called the attacks a “wake-up call” to a “civilizational war against radical Islam.” Other GOP contenders echoed the clash-of-civilizations theme in their remarks and statements.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush emphasized the military nature of the conflict with ISIS. “It’s not a law-enforcement operation and the mindset in our country at least needs to change to recognize it for what it is,” he said in a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt. “This is an organized effort to destroy Western civilization and we need to lead in this regard.”