The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee used Canadian leaders’ response to the Ottawa shootings to take his own swipe at President Obama on Thursday.
Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., noted top Canadian officials’ use of the word “terrorism” to describe the actions of a gunman who killed a Canadian soldier and later fired dozens of rounds inside that country’s Parliament.
“I was impressed with the Canadian government’s swift condemnation of what was obviously an act of terror,” McKeon said in a statement. “I wish the Obama administration used similar language during the Fort Hood shooting, rather than pretending that ‘workplace violence’ was an accurate description of a tragic terrorist attack.”
Conservatives in Congress have bashed Obama for years over the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, attack, in which an Army psychiatrist killed 13 and wounded more than 30 others in the deadliest mass shooting ever at a U.S. military base.
White House and Pentagon officials have resisted classifying that attack as terrorism, arguing it did not meet the criteria for a terrorist or combat attack. Instead, military officials classified it as a workplace violence incident, making the military victims ineligible for the Purple Heart and battlefield benefits.
House members have worked to overturn that decision, but have seen their legislative efforts rebuffed by the Senate.
On Wednesday, in a national address, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed that in the days to come investigators will “learn more about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had.”
“This week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world,” he said. “We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and institutions of governance are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, our society. … We will not be intimidated.”