Sen. Marco Rubio did not hold back against President Barack Obama’s lack of response on a terrorist group that has targeted American civilians in the Middle East.
The Florida Republican, during a visit to CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, accused the president of committing “presidential malpractice” when it comes to his foreign policy in the Middle East. He argued that the administration has sent mixed messages about how the U.S. will battle the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“He ran for office under the notion that our national interest in the Middle East was to disengage as quickly as possible and disentangle from the region. And that has been chaotic,” Rubio said.
The freshman senator also argued Obama’s actions have been counterproductive to the country’s foreign policy and has created “some generational and reputational damage to the United States of great significance.”
“Our allies are watching this as well, and they’re concluding that the American foreign policy is in the hands of someone who does not know what he’s doing,” Rubio said.
Obama announced on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he will be laying out a strategy to defeat ISIS on Wednesday, on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
“I just want the American people to understand the nature of the threat and how we’re going to deal with it and to have confidence that we’ll be able to deal with it,” he said in a taped interview.
Rubio, who has previously not backed air strikes against Syria, said he hopes Obama’s plans will included a “sustained air campaign involving every element of our air power, targeting the supply lines, targeting their command and control structures.”
“I also hope he’s announcing that he’s going to target the refineries that they now control in Syria, revenues from which they’re using to fund their operations,” he continued.
Rubio said he believes ISIS poses a real threat to the U.S. homeland.
“For us to simply sit back and say, ‘We don’t think they pose a threat,’ because we haven’t seen one, I think would be short-sighted,” he said. “The fact of the matter is this group has among their ranks hundreds if not thousands of people with the capability of entering the United States quickly and easily. And we should not take that lightly.”
As for Obama’s announcement that he was delaying action on immigration until after the midterm elections, Rubio said: “It’s definitely politics. He doesn’t want to be held accountable by the electorate in the midterm elections for an action that he knows is unpopular.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.