Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pushed President Barack Obama to address why some Americans feel he is unserious about confronting terrorist threats.
In a rare interview on Fox News Sunday, Wallace pushed Obama’s over his comments that more Americans die in bathtub accidents every year than by terrorist threats.
“Bathtub manufacturers aren’t trying to kill us, and they’re not trying to up the body count. I think it’s fair to say that some of the sharpest criticism of you, from both sides during your presidency, has been the way that you’ve responded, personally, not necessarily in policy, to terror attacks,” Wallace said.
“And some people wonder — I think the concern is, do you worry about terrorism and feel the threat of terrorism the way they do?”
Obama countered, saying that keeping Americans safe is his “number one priority,” and pointing out that his administration has worked extensively to kill and capture terrorists.
“There isn’t a president who’s taken more terrorists off the field than me, over the last seven-and-a-half years,” Obama said.
Obama continued: “I’m the guy who calls the families, or meets with them, or hugs them, or tries to comfort a mum, or a dad, or a husband, or a kid, after a terrorist attack. So let’s be very clear about how much I prioritise this: This is my number one job. And we have been doing it effectively.”
When Wallace rephrased the question, Obama said that in the wake of some terrorist attacks, he attempts to keep Americans calm.
“I think part of it is that, in the wake of terrorist attacks, it has been my view consistently — that the job of the terrorists, in their minds, is to induce panic, induce fear, get societies to change who they are,” Obama said.
“And what I’ve tried to communicate is, ‘You can’t change us. You can kill some of us, but we will hunt you down, and we will get you.'”
Though Obama’s approval ratings recently reached their highest point in years, polls show many Americans feel the president has not effectively curbed terrorist threats. An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey conducted at the end of last year found just 34% of Americans approved of how the president has handled ISIS and the conflict in Iraq and Syria.