Hasselbeck Grills W.H. Spokesman Over Obama Calling Paris a ‘Setback’

On Wednesday’s Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck pressed White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest over language used by Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama following last week’s ISIS terrorist attack in Paris. 

The Fox host strongly argued that Obama calling the Paris attack a mere “setback” and John Kerry saying the Charlie Hebdo attack was “understandable” was evidence the administration needs to change its “verbiage” because “everyone in this world right now sees them as aloof, apathetic and quite cavalier about these lives being lost at the hands of ISIS.”   

Hasselbeck continued to challenge Earnest over the administration’s passive language regarding ISIS and wondered “[w]ould you go back and ask for that language to be changed at this point, to reflect some sort of solidarity and intentional aggression against ISIS? I mean, to call this understandable as it relates to Charlie Hebdo to call this just a setback seems awful at least to the American people.” 

The White House Press Secretary tried to lecture Hasselbeck that if she spent “just as much time focusing on the president's actions as you do his words. Because if you do I think you would see a president who takes this very seriously.” The Fox host refused to accept the White House spin and stressed that “[h]is words matter Josh, I have to stop you there. Josh I will stop The president of the United States’ words matter.”

After the two went back-and-forth trying to get a word in edge wise, Hasselbeck questioned Earnest one final time to explain why Obama uses such “caviler” language when discussing ISIS: 

I’m letting you know that our president's words matter, not just to me, not just to the American people, but to those around the globe who are very concerned right now. Our president's words matter. He called this a setback why? Just a setback seems cavalier.

See relevant transcript below. 

Fox & Friends 

November 18, 2015

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Josh, let me ask you this. Following this initial attack in Paris where 129 people were brutally killed, the president of the United States referred to this as something that was a “setback.” Secretary John Kerry, then in trying to draw a line of comparison between the Charlie Hebdo attacks and these recent Paris attacks said that those attacks at Charlie Hebdo were “understandable.”

Do you understand at this point how the verbiage needs to change a bit because everyone in this world right now sees them as aloof, apathetic and quite cavalier about these lives being lost at the hands of ISIS. Would you go back and ask for that language to be changed at this point, to reflect some sort of solidarity and intentional aggression against ISIS? I mean, to call this understandable as it relates to Charlie Hebdo to call this just a setback seems awful at least to the American people.

JOSH EARNEST: Well, Elisabeth, I think what’s I would ask the American people to do is go look at the transcript of the president’s remarks where he described the situation as sickening, where he expresses profound sorrow of what exactly had occurred. And I think what I would encourage you to do is spend just as much time focusing on the president's actions as you do his words. Because if you do I think you would see a president who takes this very seriously. 

HASSELBECK: His words matter Josh, I have to stop you there. Josh I will stop The president of the United States’ words matter.

EARNEST: Elizabeth, let me finish my answer. If you want to have me on your show-

HASSELBECK: I will focus on my president’s words Josh. 

EARNEST: To talk about a serious issue then give me an opportunity to answer the question.

HASSELBECK: I would love for you to answer it.

EARNEST: I'll answer the question by telling you should consider.

HASSELBECK: Go ahead. 

EARNEST: Elisabeth, if you want to have me on the show to talk about something serious as our national security, you can ask me a question and I'll answer it.

HASSELBECK: Josh, we've played fair before. I’m letting you know that our president's words matter, not just to me, not just to the American people, but to those around the globe who are very concerned right now. Our president's words matter. He called this a setback why? Just a setback seems cavalier. Go ahead and answer the question.

EARNEST: Elisabeth, if you would consider the president's remarks, you will note that he called the attacks sickening and that he expressed his profound sorrow of what had precisely occurred.

NB Daily Foreign Policy Syria Military War on Terrorism Fox News Channel Fox & Friends ISIS Elisabeth Hasselbeck Josh Earnest

Sponsored Links