Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani and US Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Ted Cruz on Wednesday criticized President Barack Obama’s remarks on combating the issue of extremism, saying “he does not love America”.
Addressing a gathering at a private group dinner, Giuliani said, “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.”
The group dinner was called in Manhattan in honour of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, another GOP frontrunner for presidency.
The critical comments by Giuliani came in response to Obama’s speech at a three-day summit on Wednesday over methods to combat violent extremism.
“We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam,” Obama said at the summit which was attended by the representatives from over 60 countries.
The White House has steadfastly refuted linking extremism with Islam. During his speech, Obama had also argued that “the groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda promote a twisted interpretation of religion that is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslims.”
The President had also called on the Muslims in the United States to contribute in countering extremism.
“Muslim leaders need to do more to discredit the notion that our nations are determined to suppress Islam. Everybody has to speak up very clearly that no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents doesn’t defend Islam or Muslims. It damages Islam and Muslims,” Obama told the gathering at the summit.
Cruz also launched a scathing attack at Obama after calling him “an apologist for radical Islamic terrorists”.