This post has been updated.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining the chorus of outraged critics knocking President Obama for his remarks Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, accusing the president of failing to deal with “the radical Islamic threat today.”
“It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast,” said the likely presidential candidate, according to a statement first reported by National Review. “We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”
The president’s critics were incensed after Obama cited the Crusades and the Inquisition in his remarks, noting – clumsily, his opponents argue – that religion can be corrupted and inspire “terrible deeds.”
“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” Obama told the group. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
Those remarks have caused an uproar among some Republicans who feel the president’s comments undercut the spirit of the service.
Jindal also seized the moment to accuse the president of failing to deal with terrorism abroad.
“Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives,” he said.
White House principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters Friday that he has not spoken with Obama about the criticism that followed his prayer breakfast remarks, but said the detractors include "a failed presidential candidate, an RNC chairman from the past who have criticized us." Schultz said the remarks were "well-suited" for the setting.
"What I think the president was trying to say is, over the course of human history there are times where extremists pervert their own religion to justify violence. And that’s what the President was trying to talk about yesterday," Schultz said.
He said Obama believes America is great because it espouses values including equality and tolerance.
"So the President believes that when we fall short of that, we need to be honest with ourselves and look inward, and hold ourselves accountable," Schultz said. "That’s what gives us the moral standing around the world -- not just because we assert it, but because we hold ourselves accountable."