In the aftermath of the attacks carried out by radical Islamic extremists that killed and wounded hundreds in the streets of Paris, President Obama stood before the world to issue America’s response. Instead of taking a hardline stand against violent acts of terrorism, the President appeared timid as he announced that the upcoming summit on climate change would be a strong “rebuke” to international terrorism. This statement, combined with his approach towards combating ISIS, show that President Obama holds misplaced priorities about the threats facing our country.

Then came the San Bernardino attack where 14 people were killed and 21 injured in the horrific mass shooting carried out last week by two radical terrorists. It took the president four days to respond and finally admit what most Americans already knew – it was a terrorist attack.

Since the president addressed the nation, I’ve been reading e-mails and hearing from some of my constituents who believe that this president’s response was tone-deaf. They view him as a fearful leader who is in denial about the threat terrorism poses to our country.

Americans want to see leadership that will communicate the message that we are going to find these terrorists, we’re going to destroy them and we’re going to destroy their networks. But that is not what the president has been saying.

Americans want to see leadership that will communicate the message that we are going to find these terrorists, we’re going to destroy them and we’re going to destroy their networks. But that is not what the president has been saying.

Instead, he wants to talk about things like climate change and gun control. That is not a response our enemy will respect. Nor is it the proper way to rebuke an enemy that has demonstrated its willingness to target civilians in our cities and towns. Terrorists do not care about climate change. They don’t care about contrived liberal theories about environmental change encouraging violent extremism. 

How should we fight back? With a show of force and resolve -- the kind of spirit displayed by French President Hollande -- qualities that have been lacking in our own President’s response to this situation.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time President Obama has prioritized climate change over the threat of international terrorism. Last February, White House Press Secretary Earnest refused to deny that the president views climate change as a greater threat than terrorism. Since then, we have had terrorist attacks in Chattanooga, Paris and dozens of cities. Yet, the president of the United States – the leader of the free world – still refuses to identify the threat or commit to a plan to combat it.

In fact, the president’s failure to define our enemy and timid response to the threat posed by ISIS and other extremist organizations has emboldened them.

The president’s failed foreign policy has emboldened our rivals as well. Russia has moved back into the Middle East in force for the first time in decades. Just like ISIS, Russian President Putin can sense when an opportunity to exploit weakness is available – and that is just what he has done at the expense of the prestige and international standing of the United States.

When discussing ISIS, the president reminded the nation that “we [have] faced greater threats to our way of life before” and he is right. The threat of ISIS is not the greatest threat we have ever faced; but that does not change the fact that radical violent extremism is the threat we face now.

Until President Obama recognizes that fact and begins to combat violent extremism with the same vigor he saves for climate change summits, the United States – and our allies – will continue to appear lethargic in the response to this growing threat.

Republican Congressman Marsha Blackburn is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving the Seventh Congressional District of Tennessee. She serves as vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Chair of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant  Lives. She was named the 2016 “Woman of the Year” by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.