Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—September 12, 2012. Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus are facing harsh criticism today for statements made last night and today about the attack of the American embassy in Cairo.
Romney and Priebus’ initial remarks were made last night following the online posting of a statement made by a U.S. embassy staff member who wrote, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” The statement was released before protesters stormed the American embassy in Cairo and news broke that the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, had been killed in Tuesday’s attack.
The attack on the ambassy stemmed from anger about an online film produced in the United States which the attackers believed blasphemed Islam and mocked the prophet Muhammad.
On Tuesday, about 10 p.m. ET, Romney said, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Shortly after midnight, Priebus tweeted, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”
A second statement made by Secretary of State Clinton said, “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”
White House officials also pointed out that the embassy’s statement was “not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government.”
President Obama’s campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt was also quick to respond to Romney’s statement saying, “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.”
In remarks made today in Florida, Romney continued his attack of the Administration. “I think it is a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values,” Romney said. “That instead when our grounds are being attacked and being breached that the first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. And apology for America’s values is never the right course.”
Romney went on to say, “Their administration spoke. The President takes responsibility not just for the words that come from his mouth but also from his ambassadors, from his administration, from his embassies, from his State Department.”
Other Democrats were quick to chastise Romney on Wednesday claiming the candidate was inserting politics where they didn’t belong. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Romney’s remarks “about as inappropriate as anything I’ve ever seen at this kind of a moment.”
“They are flat wrong,” Kerry said. “They demonstrate insensitivity and a lack of judgment about what is happening now. To make those kinds of statements before you even know the facts, before families have even been notified, before things have played out, is really not just inexperienced, it’s irresponsible, it’s callous, it’s reckless. And I think he ought to apologize and I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about frankly. It’s that simple.”
Senator Dick Durbin, (D-Illinois) said, “I’m sorry the decision was made in the Romney campaign to make this a political issue. It is not. It is a tragic human issue and we should be together as a nation condemning this terrible violence against our ambassador and those who worked in the Libyan embassy.”