French President Francois Hollande’s comments this week in Washington about Islamic terrorism -- a term President Obama won’t use -- were omitted from an official White House video.
Holland made the comments at an international summit in Washington on nuclear security that also focused largely on global terrorism.
“We are also making sure that between Europe and the United States there can be a very high level coordination. But we’re also well aware that the roots of terrorism, Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we’re doing within the framework of the coalition. …” Hollande said following a meeting at the summit between his and Obama’s top officials.
However, an audio gap occurs in the original White House video where the French-to-English translator would have said: “Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we’re doing within the framework of the coalition.”
The gap was reported first by the Media Research Center, a conservative-leaning government watchdog group.
Republicans and others have been highly critical of Obama, and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, for not saying the words “Islamic terrorism” when talking about the Islamic State terror group, which has claimed responsibility for the recent, deadly bombing attacks in Paris and Brussels.
“For seven years, President Obama, and Hillary Clinton and this administration have been sound bound up by political correctness that they have refused to acknowledge what is it is we are fighting, refused to even name it,” GOP presidential candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told FoxNew on Sunday.
“After every one of these attacks, the president does a national TV conference where he refuses to say the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ Instead he lectures Americans on Islamophobia. Well, enough is enough.”
The White House told several news outlets on Friday the audio gap was the result of a "technical issue" not an attempt to scrub or censor Hollande’s comments and that an updated video with the complete audio was posted on WhiteHouse.gov soon after the problem was recognized.
Officials also said the official transcript posted on the website always included the dropped sentences.
Obama has said that he will not use the words “radical Islamic terrorists” because they legitimize the efforts of the Islamic State, to which he refers as ISIL.