President Barack Obama will make a rare address to the nation Sunday night in which he is expected to reassure Americans about U.S. efforts to combat terrorism after attacks at home and abroad have Americans questioning their safety.
"What you're going to hear from him is a discussion about what government is doing to ensure all of our highest priority — the protection of the American people," U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, adding that his message is likely to include a note of restraint.
Lynch said the president “understands that the country is very concerned about this issue” but added, “I think what you're going to hear the president say is to call on the American people to pull out the best in themselves and not give into fear at this time.”
The address, which will take place shortly after 8 p.m. ET from the Oval Office, follows the deadly terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California, that claimed the lives of 14 people and the ISIS attack in Paris that killed 130.
Lynch said that the president also plans to talk about the security measures the country has taken since the Paris attacks, as well as outline the efforts the country has taken since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. And he will also ask Congress to take action, specifically to review the nation’s gun laws, she said.
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The address comes in the middle of a heated presidential race in which Republican White House hopefuls have said Obama’s policies have made the country less safe from terrorist attacks. Republican presidential candidate Lindsay Graham said Obama has been "overwhelmed by radical Islam” during an appearance on “Meet the Press,” adding, “He doesn't have a strategy to destroy ISIL.”
Graham said that what he wants to hear from the President Sunday night is “that he's going to change his strategy and come up with a regional army to go in and destroy the caliphate in Raqqa, Syria; that he's going to abandon what is not working.”
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Republican presidential candidates have blamed Obama for not aggressively linking the California shootings to ISIS-like ideology, something Obama spoke about Saturday in his weekly address. “It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror,” he said. “And if so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years -- the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies. We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people around the world and in our country to commit terrible acts of violence, oftentimes as lone wolf actors.”
The San Bernardino attack has also reignited the debate over gun control, with Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton calling on Congress to “take action now” on guns. Republicans, however, have remained steadfast in their opposition to modifying gun laws, placing the blame instead on Obama's policies to combat terrorism.