During a speech in Havana on Tuesday morning, President Obama briefly departed from his prepared remarks to address the deadly terrorist attacks that occurred an ocean away earlier in the day. “The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium, and we stand in solidarity with them in condemning the attacks against innocent people,” Obama said at the outset. “We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible.” He continued:
And this is yet another reminder that the world must unite. We must be together—regardless of nationality or race or faith—in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.
And with that, Obama returned to his previously scheduled topic of Cuba and its relationship with the United States—and CBS and ABC quickly returned to their ongoing coverage of the Brussels attacks.
The president’s brief remarks are, of course, unlikely to go over well with those Republicans hoping to replace him in the White House next year. Earlier Tuesday, Donald Trump used the attacks to remind voters of his own closed-borders approach to world affairs while Ted Cruz blamed Obama’s word choice. “Radical Islam is at war with us,” the Texan said in a statement. “For over seven years we have had a president who refuses to acknowledge this reality. And the truth is, we can never hope to defeat this evil so long as we refuse to even name it.”