In a forceful statement today, Mitt Romney condemned yesterday’s attacks in Libya and Egypt — and criticized the White House’s handling of the situation.
“America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies,” Romney said in Jacksonville, Fla. “We’ll defend also our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion. We have confidence in our cause in America.”
“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,” he added. “It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values. The White House distanced itself last night from the statement, saying it wasn’t cleared by Washington. That reflects the mixed signals they’re sending to the world.”
“The attacks in Libya and Egypt underscore that the world remains a dangerous place, and that American leadership is still sorely needed,” Romney said. “In the face of this violence, America cannot shrink from the responsibility to lead. American leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region don’t spin out of control. We cannot hesitate to use our influence in the region, to support those who share our values and our interests.”
Romney concluded on a note of warning that the United States must not allow the “Arab Spring” to become an “Arab Winter” by watching as the “the forces of extremism and violence are allowed to control the course of events.”
At the beginning of his remarks, Romney mentioned those four diplomats who had died. “This attack on American individuals and embassies is outrageous,” he said. “It’s disgusting. It breaks the hearts of all of us who think of these people who have served during their lives the cause of freedom and justice and honor. We mourn their loss and join together in prayer that the spirit of the Almighty might comfort the families of those who have been so brutally slain.”