The radical cleric is calling for the killing of American civilians in a new video released Sunday by Yemen-based Al Qaeda offshoot, Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula.
The White House spokesman told CBS' "Face the Nation" that despite calling himself a cleric, Awlaki "supports Al Qaeda's agenda of murder and violence."
"The president to graduates at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point said that members of Al Qaeda are small men who will be on the wrong side of history," Gibbs said, referring to President Obama's commencement address on Saturday.
"Those cadets, many of them will go to Afghanistan to pursue our battles there to keep our country safe, and the president will continue to take action directly at terrorists like Awlaki and keep our country safe from their murderous thugs," Gibbs said.
Awlaki is on a list of terrorists U.S. forces are authorized to capture, or kill, senior administration officials say. His Internet sermons are believed to have helped inspire attacks on the U.S., including the Fort Hood shooting last November that killed 13 soldiers.
Watch Fox News' documentary on Awlaki, airing Sunday at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET.