After facing criticism for politicizing a nation security event, the presidential hopeful clarified his criticism of the President in the context of the timeline of events.
Kasie Hunt of the Associated Press Wednesday reported, in a specific detail, the timeline of Romney’s reaction to Tuesday’s attacks. Protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Later, militants attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four American diplomatic personnel including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
“How would you have handled the situation in Libya as opposed to President Obama?” asked Lisa from Quakertown, Pa. on Wednesday’s call, after noting that she supports the Republican.
Romney softened his earlier criticism of the President, suggesting that the administration had erred when the website of the U.S. embassy in Egypt posted – and did not remove – a statement critical of an anti-Islamic film.
He had initially characterized the Cairo embassy’s statement as a response to the breach by protesters, when in fact the statement was issued beforehand.
Here is Romney’s response from Wednesday’s call:
“We’ll look at all the timelines, but as we understand it, of course the first attacks on the embassy occurred in Egypt. And, there were of course disruptions outside the embassy and there were angry people shouting and demonstrating. And the embassy put out a statement, which said that, again as I understand it, which in some respects apologized for the fact that in America, we have free speech.
“I thought that was an inappropriate statement. That statement stayed out there on their website even after after, as I understand it, even after people stormed into the embassy compound, violating the sovereignty of our land. And even after there was a death of a member of our diplomatic corps in Libya.
“So, even after those things occurred the statement remained on the website of the embassy of the United States in Egypt which was, if you will, an apologetic statement for American freedom of speech. I thought that was a very bad choice on the part of the administration and I said so.
“I think whenever America is facing people who are critical of us or demonstrating against us, that we must have confidence that our cause is just and that we should defend our Constitution and the individual freedoms which we enjoy in America. I don’t believe in apologizing for America.
“Obviously if I make mistakes myself I apologize for them, if there are mistakes made by an individual we apologize for them, but we don’t apologize for America itself, for our Constitution, for the freedoms which we enjoy. And my own view is that we need to make it very clear, and not just in Libya and Egypt but throughout the world that there are principles which we hold dear and that we do not apologize for them.”