During an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point on Monday, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) could not explain when President Obama “apologized” for the United States, despite repeatedly claiming that he went on an “apology tour” across the Middle East shortly after becoming president.
Since violence broke out across the region, Republicans have charged that Obama’s “defeatist” policies have caused the unrest and contributed to the death of Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens. But pressed to detail where Obama has apologized for America by CNN host Soledad O’Brien, King came up short:
O’BRIEN: Never once in that speech, as you know, which I have the speech right here. that was — he never once used the word “apology.” He never once said “I’m sorry.”
KING: Didn’t have to. The logical — any logical reading of that speech or the speech he gave in France where he basically said that the United States can be too aggressive. [...]
O’BRIEN: Everybody keeps talking about this apology tour and apologies from the President. I’m trying to find the words ‘I’m sorry, I apologize’ in any of those speeches. Which I have the text of all those speeches in front of me. None of those speeches at all, if you go to factcheck.org which we check in a lot, they all say the same thing. They fact check this and they say this whole theory of apologies…
KING: I don’t care what fact check says.
O’BRIEN: There are fact checks. You may not care, but they’re a fact checker.
KING: No. Soledad. Any commonsense interpretation of those speeches, the president’s apologizing for the American position. That’s the apology tour. That’s the way it’s interpreted in the Middle East. If I go over and say that the U.S. has violated its principles, that the United States has not shown respect for islam, that’s an apology. How else can it be interpreted?
O’BRIEN: I think plenty of people are interpreting it as a nuanced approach to diplomacy is how some people are interpreting it. So I don’t think that everybody agrees it’s apology.
As the Washington Post put it, “the apology tour never happened.” Rather, shortly after becoming president, Obama traveled to the world introducing himself and differentiating his foreign policy from that of President Bush. “This is typical of many new presidents,” including Bush himself, who “quickly broke with Clinton administration policy on dealings with North Korea, the Kyoto climate change treaty and the international criminal court.”
The manufactured attack, which Republicans kicked off in 2009, “feeds into a subterranean narrative that Obama, with his exotic, mixed-race background, is not really American in the first place.”