President Barack Obama caused a wave of backlash after he compared the actions of Islamic State jihadists in the Middle East to acts of violence committed by Christian crusaders centuries ago.
“It’s unbelievable,” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said Friday. “The stupid, left-wing moral equivalency. Sometimes you can just say, ‘Hey, you know what? There are some really, really bad Muslim extremists.'”
Meanwhile, Scarborough’s “Morning Joe” cohost, Mika Brzezinski, appeared too exasperated by the president’s comments to even engage them.
“Could you put some vodka in here?” she joked while raising her coffee cup.
At the Washington Prayer Breakfast the day before, Obama noted that all religions had violent histories. Notably, he equated the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) militants in the Middle East to the medieval-era Christian Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition that targeted non-believers.
“Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “And in our home country, slavery, and Jim Crow, all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
Conservatives expressed particular outrage at the remarks. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) told The New York Times Obama’s statement was “the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime.” And Fox News devoted segment after segment to discussing Obama’s speech.
“This man is a nihilist and an narcissist and an extremist,” conservative talk-show host Mark Levin told Fox’s Sean Hannity.
Levin argued that, if former President Abraham Lincoln had taken Obama’s approach, he might have let slavery continue in the US.
“Lincoln would say, following Obama’s argument, ‘Don’t get on your high horse. This is not an existential threat,'” Levin continued. “Lincoln might say, ‘Why in the world would I send hundreds of thousands of men to their death to end slavery?’ What Obama is saying and doing is the lowest of the low.”
Also on Hannity’s show, columnist Charles Krauthammer said Obama’s speech was even more offensive because the Islamic State recently released a propaganda video in which militants burned a Jordanian hostage alive.
“I was stunned that the president could say something so — at once — both banal and offensive,” Krauthammer said. “Here we are not two days of way from an act of sort of shocking barbarism: the burning alive of a prisoner of war. And Obama’s message is that we should remember the Crusades and the Inquisition … Everyone knows that. What’s important is what’s happening now.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.