President Barack Obama is set to deliver a rare address to the nation on Sunday evening about the government’s response to terrorist threats and a recent slew of mass shootings.
Previewing the speech during an appearance on “Meet The Press” on Sunday, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the president will again call on Congress to take action on gun control — an action that has so far met strong opposition from Republicans.
The speech marks Obama’s third official address to the nation from the Oval Office, less than any president since President Harry Truman, according to the Washington Post, as the president has often opted for speeches in the East Room of the White House or in the Rose Garden.
The last time that Obama spoke from the Oval Office was to announce the official end of US military involvement in Iraq in late 2010.
“The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people,” Obama said then. “We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home. We’ve persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people — a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilisation. Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it’s time to turn the page.”
“Two weeks ago, America’s final combat brigade in Iraq, the Army’s Fourth Stryker Brigade, journeyed home in the pre-dawn darkness. Thousands of soldiers and hundreds of vehicles made the trip from Baghdad, the last of them passing into Kuwait in the early morning hours. Over seven years before, American troops and coalition partners had fought their way across similar highways, but this time no shots were fired. It was just a convoy of brave Americans, making their way home.”
The speech was somewhat panned by many politicians and commentators for appearing to overstate the stability and progress made in Iraq.
Critics on the right asserted that the president was not doing enough to focus on “winning” the war in Iraq.
“Over the past several months, we’ve often heard about ending the war in Iraq but not much about winning the war in Iraq,” then-House Republican leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at the time, according to the Associated Press.
The speech was also criticised from the left, as some commentators pointed out that thousands of American troops would still remain stationed in Iraq.
Watch Obama’s 2010 address below:
Several months earlier, Obama gave his first address from the Oval Office, dedicated to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 people and the subsequent oil spill that dumped over millions gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
As CBS’ Mark Knoller points out, Sunday will also be only the second time that Obama will formally address the nation on that day of the week. The previous time was the announcement of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of US Navy Seals in 2011.
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