The United States Consulate in Libya was attacked last night and 4 Americans were killed, including our ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. This is a horrifying tragedy. It used to be that we came together as a country at times like this, and for the most part I think we still do.
But RNC chairman Reince Preibus and Mitt Romney wasted no time in seeing this as an opportunity for attacking the president, over comments made by our embassy in Cairo as the events were unfolding.
“We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others,” the U.S. embassy said in its statement.
The comments were intended to diffuse what was obviously a very dangerous situation. That’s kind of what ambassadors and diplomats do. It’s sort of the reason we have ambassadors and diplomats.
Reince Preibus tweeted this:
Yes, the chairman of the RNC chose the anniversary of 9/11 to attack the president in the middle of a crisis that left 4 Americans dead over comments made by a diplomat in the middle of that crisis. Let it sink in.
Mitt Romney, in a press conference this morning that I watched but still really can’t believe, said this:
I also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions. It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values.
Yes, Mitt. Sometimes it is too early. For example, while the situation is still unfolding and lives are in the balance, that would be too early. It’s also a complete lie to suggest that the administration was sympathizing with the attackers. It’s irresponsible and disgusting.
Romney seems to be arguing that if the president or the administration expresses any criticism of hateful speech towards Islam, then he is apologizing for our freedom of speech and religion. Conservatives who want to argue that Mitt is right about that need to be reminded of this little incident back in 2006:
As our politics are overtaken by embassy-riot finger-pointing, it’s worth remembering how the Bush administration attempted to finesse the 2006 protests of Danish cartoons that mocked Muhammed. (I think everybody knows this by now, but Muslims don’t illustrate Muhammad in any form. Hence the outrage.) From February 2006:The Muslim world erupted in anger on Friday over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published in Europe while the Bush administration offered the protesters support, saying of the cartoons, ”We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive.”… The State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, reading the government’s statement on the controversy, said, ”Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images,” which are routinely published in the Arab press, ”as anti-Christian images, or any other religious belief.”Still, the United States defended the right of the Danish and French newspapers to publish the cartoons. ”We vigorously defend the right of individuals to express points of view,” Mr. McCormack added.
I know, I know. The rule for conservatives is always: “It’s OK if you are Republican.”
Anyway, as the title suggested, I’m really at a loss for words on this one (he said, 550 words later). It goes far beyond the level of craven opportunism that I thought Romney was capable of, and that is saying a whole lot. I mean, I’m not a fan of the guy, so any new low is pretty remarkable.
Romney took questions after making his statement this morning, and this is how he looked. I almost threw something at the TV when I saw this look on his face after answering a question about how the president has failed to show leadership in a crisis where 4 Americans have lost their lives.
Well, I didn’t really need more motivation to beat this guy, but I guess more won’t hurt.