House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said President Obama demonstrated a “lack of interest” in national security during the State of the Union address, failing to mention San Bernardino or the Paris terrorist attacks.
McCaul said he had a chance to meet with the police chief of San Bernardino and the sheriff who were invited to the address by their member of Congress.
“I was really disappointed the president never recognized them. He never even recognized that San Bernardino even happened [during the address]. He didn’t recognize Chattanooga. He didn’t even talk about the Paris attack,” McCaul said at the Hudson Institute. “To me that was a glaring absence in a State of the Union speech that was largely about the economy and his legacy but little that had to do with national security and foreign policy.”
McCaul has attributed Obama’s lack of emphasis on terrorist threats to his administration’s foreign policy and homeland security record.
“His record is not his legacy even though he touts the Iran negotiations as one of the greatest achievements. I think his legacy, at the end of the day, on these issues is not going to be his strongest suit,” he said. “Perhaps that’s why he is downplaying it. I continue really to be baffled by the fact that he doesn’t address these issues head on that so many Americans are concerned about.”
In McCaul’s view, an attack that claims a small number of victims is still significant.
“Even if it’s just a handful people like in San Bernardino it’s still a significant event. And I thought that was quite frankly a bit of a disgrace that was not even acknowledged, or the heroism of the first responders from San Bernardino as they sat in the audience at the State of the Union, at least they should have been recognized,” he said.
McCaul, a former official in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, said he continues to worry about the plots law enforcement are not able to thwart.
“We’ve had 79 ISIS related arrests in this country. It’s hugely significant, so we’ve stopped a lot of bad things, but it’s the cases we don’t know about,” he said.
On the other hand, McCaul was pleased with Obama’s call to action on a cure for cancer.
“I would argue to all the presidential candidates that is a worthy achievement and that is something I would like to see elevated to the presidential campaign because I think it’s so important,” he said.