June 14th, 2014
07:39 PM ET
9 years ago

King: Obama wrong to hold news conference on Iraq

(CNN) - Rep. Peter King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, says the President shouldn’t have announced that the United States will not be sending troops to Iraq.

“I don’t think you should ever tell the enemy what you are going to do and what you’re not going to do,” King, R-New York, told CNN on Saturday, a day after the President Barack Obama made remarks at the White House. “I would have thought that with a crisis like this, he should not have called the (news) conference to announce he will look at it.”

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Obama said that he would be reviewing a range of options beyond troop deployment.

King has been vocal in the past about the United States’ role in global crises. In 2013, King said that he would vote in favor of authorizing the president to use militarily force in Syria after reports surfaced of chemical weapons attacks in the region.

As far as the decision not to put boots on the ground in Iraq, King says he agrees with the president from a practical standpoint. But he does think that airstrikes should be made, if feasible.

“If nothing else,” King told CNN’s Michael Smerconish, the airstrikes should be used “to stop this assault and give the Iraqi army the chance to consolidate and at least defend Baghdad.”

Obama has not ruled out airstrikes against militants challenging the government. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that he expects the President to make “timely decisions,” given the gravity of the situation.

King said that the administration should have been aware of the growing threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. “From the time the president withdrew the troops back in 2011, and certainly over the last year and several months, we have known how powerful ISIS has become,” King said. “This should not be a shock to anyone.”

Pressure for the United States to provide military support to Iraq's struggling government has increased, with conservative Republicans blaming Obama for creating a security vacuum in by pulling out U.S. troops. Obama, however, resists getting drawn into another military engagement there after the ending the nine-year conflict.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, on Friday called for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be fired, along with the president’s national security team, including Susan Rice.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-California, also knocked the president’s national security team, saying in a statement, “The President should also ask himself if his White House National Security team is equal to the crisis at hand. I don’t believe they are.”

While King didn’t call for the group to be fired, he did say that he feels that the president’s team has failed him. Citing briefings given in the last several months, King said there were a number of people saying that action should have taken place earlier to stop the ISIS threat.

“I do know the intelligence community and others were aware of what was happening in Iraq,” King said. “Maybe not to this extent, but certainly for the potential for this to happen. And it’s really inexcusable to me how we have been caught so short on this.”

King also said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “needs to go.”

Despite public opinion leaning heavily against becoming involved in conflicts overseas, King says there is a national interest in stopping ISIS from gaining a foothold in the Middle East.

“The fact is that if ISIS is able to take over large parts of Iraq, combining that with the gains that they have made in Syria - also if you combine what (al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Jabhat) al-Nusra is doing in Syria - you are really going toward that Islamic caliphate. And I believe ...  not just in the long run, but in the short run, it will be damaging to U.S. interests.”

Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Tony in Maine

    This is why the blowhard Peter King isn't POTUS. He's just too dumb.

    June 14, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. Dee

    King always criticize the President in a time of crisis they should all stop being critical of him. Now you know why he does not trust them in their eyesight he can never do anything right.

    Thanks God he doesn't decide by rhetoric and takes his time to make decisions all the other side want to do is go to war and put our Americans at risk.

    June 14, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Why are republicans complete idiots?

    June 14, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Why should I care what King thinks. He's another nut job , want to be tough guy , who wants to be in the Whiter house.

    If I was still hanging out at the corner pub and sucking back Irish whisky's with a Guinness Stout back .

    Maybe I would care not .

    June 14, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  5. king

    close your eyes, and imagine that this country was ran by republicans, now open them and look at the news, and down the street at your neighbors. can you imagine the carnage we would be going through right now. wars on all front, the country's deficits blown out of the air, low taxes as more and more wars are created, such as iraq, iran, syria,russia, etc. this country would be in a tail spin right now. i remembered when bin ladin said he is not fighting the american army but their financial sector. the repubs runs around the corner shouting deficit defict, and come back around the next side carrying signs of intervention into every country's conflic they can find.

    June 14, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  6. Dean

    What difference does it make? Everyone knows Obama will just sit on the fence for a couple of years before deciding any action.

    June 14, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |

    Dick Cheney had a different view of invading Iraq in 1994, as evident in this discussion of the first Iraq war, a war where he was the Secretary
    of Defense.

    After you take down Saddam Hussain's government, he asks, "then what are you gonna put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government in Iraq, you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off... it's a quagmire ... if you try to take over Iraq... How many additional American causalities was Saddam worth? Our judgment was not very many, and I think we got it right."

    June 14, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  8. Chris-E...al

    Yes it seems 0bama is americas enemy on most things and the free world cant get no help thats us to . Most of the nonsense comes from his demo conrads i know one man can not be possibly be that ignorant come on now ppl open your eyes ?

    June 14, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  9. ED1

    When will the people of the United States see that King Obama and all of his stupid supporters only want to destroy our Country and sell our soldiers down the river for his gain wake up you stupid people you can see this. t\

    There is no way I could serve a Dictator like this when I was in the service.

    June 14, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  10. HowieInBrissie

    Rep. Peter King was wrong for having been a cheerleader for Irish catholic republican terrorism!

    June 15, 2014 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  11. Harold Richards

    What do you expect from a Community Organizer? A REAL President would have made the statement: "We are looking at all options on how to handle this situation"
    – if you want to play it safe, at least you put them in check with the threat
    – if you are pushed to actually involve troops, you did not lie to the people/world
    – at least show some strength and resolve

    However, Obama drops the ball again and just gave ISIS a free pass to take over Iraq.

    June 15, 2014 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  12. Tony in Maine

    And, of course, if President Obama said nothing, we would hear all sorts of criticism about his lack of mental engagement. I wonder if the demonization would have happened were Barack Obama named Barry O'Brien and his hair reddish blond.

    June 15, 2014 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  13. J Anthony

    When they say "U.S. interests", they mean oil and pipelines, corporate expansion,etc. From the other side of their mouths they say America needs to be more "energy independent", but don't want to actually develop alternative forms of energy for mass consumption. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

    June 15, 2014 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  14. rs

    But Mr. King, the GOPpers screamed that the President needed to keep them in the loop. If he didn't whatever would you complain about?

    June 15, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  15. rs

    Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, on Friday called for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be fired, along with the president’s national security team, including Susan Rice.
    Gotta love the GOP- their standard operating ploy of "if we just keep breaking government so the American people will love us" doesn't really seem to working out like they plan.

    Really, guys? Have everyone resign so you can block their replacements? Sure, you'll get to whine about government "not working", but pretty much everyone has figured out what you're up to.

    June 15, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |