“Nothing that happened in the speech tonight is going to assuage people’s fears,” Rubio said, in a ten-minute segment on Fox News after the president’s speech.
Rubio acknowledged that Americans were fearful of Islamic State terrorism, blaming Obama for failing to properly respond to, not only the attacks in Paris three weeks ago, but the recent attack in California.
He also argued that Obama failed to signal any additional strategy to combat an increasing terrorist threat under his administration and criticized the president’s strategy that was focused on air campaigns.
“I think not only did the president not make things better tonight, I fear he may have made things worse in the minds of many Americans,” Rubio said.
Rubio warned that the threat posed by terrorism was real, and Americans had to once again be reminded that the nation was at war.
“We are at war with a radical jihadist group, more capable than any terrorist group this nation has ever confronted,” he said.
Rubio also accused Obama for cynicism, after the president lectured Americans on how to properly respond to Muslims in reaction to the attacks.
“Where is there widespread evidence that we have a problem in America with discrimination against Muslims?” he said in disbelief.
He also dismissed Obama’s rhetoric on gun control, arguing that the president was only suggesting a political solution to the problem for political reasons and would have little ability to block terrorists from acquiring weapons.
“This is nothing but an effort to use this issue of terrorism as another way to try to push their agenda that they’ve been dying to push for the longest amount of time, and that’s gun control,” he said.
He also took shots at Republican opponents Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) for voting against the Patriot Act provisions allowing the intelligence community to use, mine, and store online metadata to track terrorists.
“Maybe it provides some information, maybe it doesn’t, but we need every tool at our disposal,” Rubio argued. “We’re fighting an enemy here in radical Islam and homegrown violent extremists unlike anything this nation has ever faced. This is not a time for ideological silliness. This is a time for serious action.”