Just days after calling President Obama’s love for his country “immaterial,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says actually, the president does love his country.
“The president loves America, he loves our country. There’s no doubt about that,” Jindal, a likely 2016 Republican presidential contender, said outside the White House Monday following an event with Obama and the nation’s governors.
It’s a surprising shift for Jindal, who sided with Rudy Giuliani after the former New York City mayor questioned the president’s love of country at a private dinner for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walter, another likely 2016 GOP contender. Walker side-stepped questions about Giuliani’s remarks the next day, saying he “didn’t know” if the president loved his country. Jindal, for his part, went further, calling Obama’s feelings “immaterial” because he’s an “incapable” leader. In case there was any question, a Jindal spokesman sent out a blast email promoting the remarks, titled, “Gov. Jindal Refuses to Condemn Mayor Giuliani.”
Jindal did soften, however, after GIuliani published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal walking back his remarks.
“As I’ve said all along, I think the mayor should have used different words to express what he wanted to say. I didn’t want to throw him under the bus. I know the media loves to see Republicans attacking other Republicans,” Jindal said. “I think the point that the mayor was trying to make is an important one.”
Jindal has been working to raise his profile in recent weeks by focusing on national security and terrorism. In London, he spoke out about the existence of “no-go zones” in Europe—a widely discredited claim that certain areas of Europe are ruled by rogue Muslims. Jindal has also vehemently critized Obama for refusing to tie violent extremism directly to Islam.
“President Obama has shown the country that he is incapable of being commander-in-chief of the United States of America,” Jindal wrote in a Fox News editorial. “One of the defining military challenges of our time is the spread of radical Islamist terrorism, and President Obama has focused more on criticizing America and lecturing the American people than on devising a plan to hunt down and kill these extremists.”
Jindal reiterated that argument in his remarks outside the White House.
“There are many of us that are very concerned about the president’s unwillingness to call out radical Islamic terrorism and the threat that we face as a country,” he said. “I wrote an op-ed today saying that I think that the president has really disqualified himself to be our commander-in-chief because he will not, not only identify this threat but take the steps that are necessary to defeat this threat.”
In particular, Jindal wants Congress to remove the ‘No boots on the ground’ portion of the president’s Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
“Whether there are plans to use ground troops now or not I think our military commanders need to have the tools they need to defeat the radical islamic terrorists that threaten us,” Jindal said.